States are running out of funding fast as renters scramble to get much needed support after suffering from the pandemic.
Many people still owe rent from when the world came to a stop following the pandemic starting.
By utilizing the rental assistance program, people can apply for up to 18 months of rent and utility support.
What is rental assistance?
Congress approved $25 billion dollars in Dec. and another $21.55 billion in March in an effort to help struggling Americans behind on rent after mot being able to work.
This money was set aside, but as of Sept., only $10 billion of the funding had been distributed.
The funding is being sent to states by the Treasury, and some states where people really needed the money are running low.
New York state announced that applications will be restricted due to the need being greater than what the state has funding for.
Texas plans to stop accepting new applications for the same reason. In Austin alone $35 million was available and disbursed to 8,000 families.
Oregon will pause applications beginning Dec. 1 after its $289 million dollar funds have been almost depleted.
Who can get rental assistance and how do they get it?
To get the assistance you must prove you’ve experienced financial hardship due to the pandemic and are now behind on your rent.
You must meet your local income requirements which vary by state, but usually cannot exceed 80% of the median income for where you live.
Other states have some additional requirements, like New York requiring unemployment benefits to be collected if you apply for rental assistance. Instead you may also prove your income has significantly dropped.
What you get for help also depends on your state. Federally it will not exceed 18 months of assistance, but some areas max out at fewer months.
Arizona is one state that goes for 18 months. They’ll pay out $3,500 per month for rent and utilities for the full 18 months. That’s $63,000 in all.
New Jersey will disburse $10,000 total, but over a six month span at most.
Connecticut gives $10,000 for rent and $1,500 for utilities.
Massachusetts is giving renters $10,000 during a state of emergency, followed by $7,000 for the six months following the end of the state of emergency.
Any money received must go to back rent first before it can be used for current or future rent.