The Covid-19 epidemic has brought about a change in everyday life that we once knew. Businesses have been closed, curfews have been imposed and resources have become scarce. Like so many other industries, the rental market has been heavily affected by the state of the country. At the height of the pandemic, many relief programs were made available to citizens as we faced closures, layoffs and evictions. Now, as we approach two years from the start of Covid-19, many aspects of our lives have returned to normal, or our new normal. For many, help is still needed and the good news is that there are still programs available to help you and provide rental assistance.
What are ERA programs?
Federal PLAR refers to emergency rent assistance. This program provides direct funding to states, local governments, U.S. territories, and indigenous tribes. The funds provide the community with help paying rent, utilities, and other household expenses such as internet and moving costs. These resources can be used by both tenants and landlords to help finance unpaid rents due to the hardships of Covid-19.
While these ERA funds are available in local governments and communities nationwide, we have described a few examples of rental assistance programs available in the following 4 US states:
- Washington state
The Arizona Department of Economic Security has enacted an Emergency Rental Assistance Program that provides utility and rental assistance to qualifying Arizona residents. If eligible, households can receive up to $ 3,500 per month in combined assistance for up to 18 months. To determine tenant eligibility, applications must be submitted by both the tenant and their landlord. Be sure to contact your landlord or property manager to discuss your situation and coordinate the application process. However, if you are interested in utility aid only, you can apply without a joint request from your landlord.
Arizona counties included in rental assistance:
- La Paz
- Santa Cruz
For rent assistance outside of these counties, see “other programs offered by cities and counties” on the DES website.
The CA Covid-19 Rent Relief Program provides rental assistance for past unpaid rents as well as assistance with the payment of future rent. For renters, assistance from this program does not count as earned income and will not affect eligibility for other state assistance programs, including CalFresh or CalWORKs. Proof of citizenship and immigrant status is not required to receive funding, applicants simply need to provide proof of identity. The state will calculate your income eligibility after submitting an application. Landlords who have a tenant with unpaid rent can apply for this assistance to help cover the cost of lost income.
The Colorado Department of Local Affairs offers rent and mortgage assistance programs. The Emergency Rent Assistance Program can also fund rent charges as early as April 2020 to cover overdue payments, but cannot reimburse you for rent already paid. This program offers rental assistance up to a maximum of 15 months. To be eligible, your median income must be 80% or less than the median income in your area. DOLA provides a helpful list of all Colorado counties and their median incomes to better gauge your eligibility. Landlords and their tenants must apply for assistance.
The Washington State Department of Commerce offers rental assistance through its Treasury Rent Assistance Program (TRAP). Interested applicants can browse local housing providers by county for information on where to apply and additional resources for qualification guidelines, waiting lists and more. For those affected by the pandemic, this program can prevent evictions by paying past rent, current and future. There are currently links to 34 of 39 counties in Washington state listed on the Department of Commerce website.
How Zumper can help
We know that many members of the tenant community are still affected by unemployment and facing financial hardship, so we wanted to offer a way to make it easier to find help.
Zumper’s new Covid Relief page makes it easy to filter available rental assistance and utility programs by state or county and find the resources that match your needs.
The way to overcome any obstacle is through action, and Zumper’s Covid-19 Support Tool takes those steps to get help a little less overwhelming. Visit the page today and see what’s available in your state.