Know Your Rental Assistance Options

Are you having trouble affording your rent? No matter how many hours of work you put in, it seems like you’re always just getting by. The affordability of providing a roof over your family’s head is a constant battle. Times are tough, especially with the added financial stress the pandemic has caused. It’s important to know, there are resources available that can help you get the financial assistance you need. Below you will find reliable resources and programs you can trust. 

HelpFinder 

This site will help you easily find private and government assistance programs. Click here to access the site.

  • Start by entering your zip code to find programs near you
  • Select “housing & transit”, followed by “help pay for housing”
  • You will be directed to a list of housing help options

This site can provide you with a selection of trusted housing resources and programs you can apply for.

National Low Income Housing Coalition

This site provides rent and housing programs that are available in each state. Click here to get started. Once on the website select “filter results”. You will then be able to check off the state you live in as well as the assistance you need. In this case, it would be “rent assistance”. Click “apply” in order to implement the filter. After, you will see every reliable program available in your state. To learn more or apply to the program you can click the program’s name and it will direct you to the next steps. Beyond general help, let’s dive into the ins and outs of specific programs so you can easily get the assistance you need. 

Modest Need

This is a foundation that provides grants of up to $1250 to low-income individuals or families. It’s financial help that does not have to be paid back. This grant is not given directly to the applicant. Therefore it cannot be used for personal expenses such as credit card bills, groceries, or gas. If approved, it can be used for rent and will go directly to the landlord, unless the landlord is family. To be eligible for these funds you must be:

  • 18 years of age or older
  • A legal resident of the United States or Canada
  • You are applying for yourself or someone in your household
  • Your household has at least one active bank account OR has filed a Federal Tax Return within in the past two years
  • Have access to a scanner or a fax machine to upload the required documentation
  • Have a legal lease that your landlord and a member of your household both have signed. The lease must show the monthly cost of your rent
  • At least one adult member of the applicants household must be employed (and have documentation of employment) at the time of applying
  • The largest source of income must be from employment, child support, veteran benefits, or retirement income

For other questions about requirements, you can email: doiqualify@modestneeds.org or call: (844) 667-3776. Once you determine if you are eligible, you can apply. In order to apply, create an account and fill out the online application here. The application takes about 30-45 minutes. Make sure you answer every question and be specific. Many individuals are applying for this assistance, so it’s important to tell the foundation why you need the help. It’s based on who needs it the most. After you complete the application, scan or fax the documents the foundation required. These documents are necessary for the application. The fax number is: (877) 212-6462. Once the documents are sent over, you need to click the button that says “mark my documentation ready for review.” This will notify the foundation that your application is ready to be looked at. The application will then be reviewed by donors. The donors determine how much you will be awarded. Then the application goes under the final administration review. After this review, the applicant must leave a “thank you testimonial” and the applicant’s request will be fulfilled. The payment will go to the vendor rather than the applicant to ensure the funds are being used for their intended purpose.

COVID-19 Rent Relief Loans: Esusu Program

This program is providing interest-free loans to individuals who have faced a loss of income due to the pandemic. Funds for qualifying renters will be sent directly to the landlord to ensure it goes towards their rental obligations. This program is meant to help tenants pay their landlords and avoid eviction. Before applying to a program it is imperative you make sure you meet the eligibility requirements. For this program you:

  • Must have been negatively affected by Covid-19. (Lost your job, a loved one, etc.)
  • Must be a renter living in the United States or its territories
  • Must be 18 or older

To apply, visit the program’s site here. Select “apply now” and fill out the application. In the section “Referral Code” enter “AB20” for your application to be prioritized. The review process normally takes 3-4 weeks. They do receive an influx of applications, so it may take longer. You will hear back regardless if you get approved or not via email. If you are approved for funding, the money will be sent directly to your landlord via wire transfer. The amount of funding can range from $250 - $1000. This is determined by how much financial help you need. For example, your total monthly rent, loss of income, net rent excluding housing credit, and household size. Therefore, it’s important to show you are in need of help to receive funding assistance from this program. The committee determines the amount granted. The program also requests that all recipients set up a 12-month repayment plan after a 3-6 month grace period. The recipient will receive an email to download the Esusu Saving app as a tool for repayment. For other questions, you can click here or contact the program directly. Their email is rentsupport@esusu.org.

Emergency Covid-19 Combat Service

This program provides financial assistance to military service members, veterans as well as first responders and their families who were affected by Covid-19. The requirements for this program include:

  • Must be a resident of the United States or its territories
  • Must be military member, veteran, first responder, or their family
  • Must be affected by Covid-19 (loss of job, income, house, etc.)

To fill out the application, click here. You will select “I am seeking support” followed by “Rent/Mortgage”. There will be a few questions to answer which are personal to you. They will ask you, how much financial support you need,  who will help and why you need help. It is important to get specific and let the foundation know you are in serious need. There are many people applying for these funds; it is distributed based on who needs them the most. They will get back to you via email or phone call to let you know if you were approved for financial assistance and the amount awarded to you.

Due to Covid-19, there have been relief acts passed that provided landlords with funding to prevent eviction during these trying times. The government will provide states the funds to further distribute to qualifying landlords or tenants. These eligibility  requirements must be met to receive funding:

  • Household income is below 80% of the area median income
  • Qualified for unemployment, lost part of their income, or experienced financial hardship due to the pandemic
  • Prove that they are at risk of eviction

To apply, fill out the application on your state’s government website. Click here for the NYS application. Click here to find your state’s website.

Emergency Housing Assistance

If you are seeking emergency assistance you can call 211. This is a 3 digit phone number for people in the United States and Canada. This number is to provide information and referrals about emergency assistance programs including low-cost rent options, public housing, and shelters near you. They have services supported by charities and non-profit groups that want to help people in difficult situations. This number is available to call 24/7. As calling this number will not provide you with financial assistance, it will furnish you with the people and programs that can help. To see what else 211 can help with click here.  

Beware of Scams

There are many sites out there, but be cognizant of scams. Red flags to look out for:

  • If the site asks you questions outside of housing needs
  • If the site provides you with offers, rather than programs
  • If the site asks for your email/phone number before seeing renting resources  

These are just a few red flags to look out for. If the site you are on includes these scenarios, it would be wise to find a more reliable source.

You Might Also Like: