Ever since the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the novel Coronavirus (Covid-19) a global pandemic, more and more families require emergency rent assistance. Although rent is a necessary expense for most families, unfortunately, amid the worldwide pandemic, more families have a hard time meeting this basic need. Fortunately, several government and private programs can help individuals and families pay their rent, especially during emergencies. These programs can specifically help families when there is already a pending eviction in their local housing court. Lastly, keep in mind that amid the COVID-19 pandemic, many state and local governments have enhanced their rental assistance programs, essentially making it easier to qualify in anticipation that more families will need rent assistance during the current economic recession. 

Below, we will briefly discuss the various government agencies that help pay rent for families or individuals on an ongoing basis or during emergencies. 

Department of Human Services

The Department of human services is a branch of the government that provides rental assistance. The emergency rental assistance program is geared towards low-income residents and provides funds for rental payments. Any family that needs rental assistance should contact them immediately. 

Section 8

Many local income families have heard of section 8 programs. Specifically, the section 8 housing choice voucher helps pay rent and utilities for those families who qualify. Section 8 vouchers can be used for private property or in an apartment building. The program pays your rent directly to the landlord, and then the tenant is responsible for the remaining balance. Every state throughout the US offers a form of section 8 assistance; however, your income must be below average to qualify for the program in all instances. 

SSI Rent Assistance

Supplemental security income (SSI) is a federal program that provides financial assistance. Specifically, this program can help pay for rent and utilities. These programs are designed to give individuals and families partial or full assistance with rent payments depending on their income and individual circumstances. 

State Assistance Grants

State assistance is a federal program that provides grants to each state in the country through multiple smaller programs. State authorities can use this grant money to provide affordable housing and long-term housing to families and individuals who reside in that state. If you are interested in receiving one of these grants, you should contact your state for additional information. 

Privately Owned Subsidized Housing

Through HUD, privately owned subsidized housing programs can provide cheap apartment buildings and subsidized housing for individuals and families. The owners of these properties receive tax breaks in exchange for renting out their apartments at a reduced rate to tenants. The reduction in the tenant’s rent depends solely on the tenant’s income level.

Government Subsidized Housing

Subsidized housing is billable through the government who owns and manages apartment complexes for low-income individuals and families. These housings projects are usually located in larger cities and provide much lower rental rates than the market rate for the area where they are located. 

If you don’t qualify for long-term rent assistance or through a government agency, you can also look into some private agencies as an alternative. 

Private Agencies that Help Families Pay Rent 

There are several nonprofit organizations and charities that provide rental assistance for individuals and families through grant money. Several of these programs can be found online but below are a few of them. 

The Salvation Army

Your local Salvation Army chapter typically has programs to help people pay their rent. These programs are usually one-time assistance programs. Keep in mind that this assistance can only be provided once; however, they will cover most or all of your entire month’s rent if you qualify. 

Catholic Charities

Catholic charities provide rental assistance for the family through emergency assistance grants throughout most states in the US. The program requires that families or individuals apply in person and meet with a caseworker to determine if they qualify for assistance.

Jewish Family Services

Similar to the Catholic Charities program, this program gets its funding from Jewish organizations all over the country. Families or individuals can apply in person so that the organization can determine if they qualify for assistance. If you are interested in applying for this program, you should contact your local chapter. 

The Red Cross

The Red Cross provides a couple of different programs to help individuals and families in the event of an emergency. Their programs also include rental assistance. It can also help people who are evacuated or living in temporary housing. 

Veteran Assistance 

This program provides rental assistance for veterans of the United States military services. Typically, the veteran would have to be disabled with a physical or emotional disability to qualify. If you are eligible for the program, you can receive rent payment assistance. You can contact the agency directly for more information. 

The Arc Program

The Arc program is specifically designed for disabled adults. The program understands that it is harder for disabled adults to earn income who may need additional income because of unexpected or unusual expenses. 

Youth On Their Own Program

This 501(c)(3) agency focuses on dropout prevention. The program is designed specifically for students and youth. To qualify for this program, students must meet the schools’ attendance requirements and receive passing grades. The program provides monthly living expenses and can also provide emergency rent assistance in certain circumstances.

Overall, several private and government agencies can help pay rent and assist families during these troubling times. Since every program is unique, the important thing is to research each program to determine if you qualify for assistance based upon each program’s particular criteria. 

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