As the COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically affected the world we live in, it could leave many of us needing help with rent. There have been no shortages of companies shutting down, lay-offs, and people getting furloughed for the foreseeable future. It can be an incredibly stressful time, even if you aren’t facing any financial hardships.
If there’s one thing that is instrumental to our wellbeing, it is having a safe roof over our heads and having food to eat. If either of these is at risk, it can feel like the world is caving in around us. As the situation worldwide moves further into unprecedented territory, a lot of people have already been struggling to make ends meet. If this situation has you thinking, “I need help paying my rent, ASAP,” then look no further. In this post, we will outline some programs that are available for you to receive assistance with rent.
What’s Emergency Rental Assistance?
If this is your first time hearing about emergency rental assistance, allow us to explain. This type of rental assistance program aims to provide monetary help to low-income families that might face trouble paying for housing. While the Government sponsors some of these programs, like The Emergency Rent Assistance Program, others come from non-profit organizations like Catholic Charities and the Salvation Army, for example.
While these programs aren’t anything new, a lot more people have found themselves needing their assistance due to the ongoing crisis with COVID-19. As the pandemic continues to push people’s finances into uncharted territory, more and more people are going to require assistance with rent. If you would like to learn about what programs are available and what you need to do to solicit help, let us give you the rundown!
What Should I Do if I Need Financial Assistance for Rent?
If you find yourself in this predicament, you aren’t alone. As shown in this survey from Bankrate, around 60 percent of Americans lack the funds to cover a $1,000 emergency cost. With so little money to be able to create a robust emergency fund, it’s no wonder that something like being furloughed or losing your job could spell disaster. If you’re facing a similar situation, here’s some information that you should know in the case of a reduction of your household income.
- Reach out to your landlord.
While landlords have become somewhat infamous for being cold, calculating, and ruthless, many of them are regular people, much like you! If you’re suddenly going through a rough patch, don’t hesitate to reach out to them and let them know what’s going on. You could be surprised by their response and willingness to help. They might offer a grace period, lower the cost of rent, or any number of things to help your situation. If you’re living in a housing complex run by a management company, they might not be as willing to help, but asking them what they could do for you won’t hurt!
- Find any additional streams of income.
It might not be easy to come by during these trying times, but seeing ways that you can bring in different sources of money can help make the situation less dire. Do you have any marketable skills and hobbies? Use them to your advantage! There are places where you can list your services, like Contently, Fiverr, and Upward. If you can create something to sell, sites like Etsy and Facebook Marketplace can offer cheap avenues to sell your products.
- See what Rental Assistance Program you can qualify for in your area.
If all else fails, there are different programs and non-profit organizations that can help. If you need this type of help, please continue reading on to learn what some of the more well-known programs are and how you can find them.
What Programs That Helps With Rent Is Right for Me?
Like most financial decisions and products, there’s no one size fits all solution. It’s important to consider all of the factors of your particular case when making this decision. If this is your first time using an emergency rental assistance program, here are some of the options available to you, if you live in the US.
- The Emergency Rental Assistance Program, also known as ERAP, is a government-funded program to aid those struggling with paying rent. That said, it’s no secret that these programs are very saturated and have mile-long waiting lists. They typically focus their attention on people who are facing eviction, so their help might be pretty hard to come by if you haven’t been delinquent on your rental payments for very long. It’s also important to note that these aren’t federal programs, so you will need to check what your state offers in this regard. Click here to find a comprehensive list of ERAP assistance for each state.
- Use resources like Catholic Charities and the Salvation Army for emergency help with rent. There are a plethora of non-profit and non-government organizations that have created programs to help pay rent for those that have been gravely affected by the ongoing pandemic. They can also offer help with food and other necessities that you might be struggling to obtain. Click here to find your state’s Catholic Charities Chapter. You can also click here to find the Salvation Army’s website and see where you can find your local Salvation Army Chapter. If you find yourself facing eviction, the Salvation Army offers housing that you can use while you sort out your situation.
- Visit your local Housing and Urban Development office! Also known by the initials HUD, they offer programs that help with rent via their subsidized housing choice voucher program. However, similarly to ERAP, they also have incredibly long waitlists. They are part of the Federal Government, so if your state doesn’t offer any help, they can also be a good option in this regard.
Needing assistance with rent is no laughing matter, nor is it something to be ashamed of struggling with, especially during these times. Not even the person with the most financially sound plan could have foreseen the COVID-19 pandemic. This situation has pushed many people to the brink after losing their jobs and livelihoods. While seeing these widespread woes caused by the ongoing crisis, there’s some peace in unity. Many people are going through the gauntlet, so you don’t need to feel alone. We hope that this article provided some information to help you navigate these difficult times and steer you in the right direction. If any of our readers know of any additional aid and programs that we didn’t list, please include them in the comments below. Let’s start a conversation to help each other out!