Renters: Help Is On The Way

Renters worried about being evicted from their homes or apartments can breathe a sigh of relief as the new $1.9 trillion stimulus package sets aside much needed funds for them to tap.

Graphic of neighbors on apartment balconies
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The $1.9 trillion stimulus package signed by President Joe Biden allocates $21.55 billion to the Emergency Rental Assistance program to provide rent assistance for those in need.

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Eligible recipients can use the funds to pay for rent, utilities and other energy costs. To qualify, your household must not exceed 80% of your area’s median income and at least one member of your household must have qualified for unemployment or experienced financial difficulties because of the pandemic. You can receive up to 12 months of assistance, plus an additional three months if you’re at risk of homelessness. Maximum payouts may be determined by your state or local housing assistance program.

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To apply, households (or their landlord) must submit an application to their state or local housing rental assistance program. Once approved, the local agency distributes funds directly to the landlord or your utility provider.

The bill also allocates $5 billion in emergency housing vouchers for those who recently became homeless or are on the brink of homelessness. The voucher fund will be available through September 2030.

Rivan V. Stinson
Ex-staff writer, Kiplinger's Personal Finance

Rivan joined Kiplinger on Leap Day 2016 as a reporter for Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine. A Michigan native, she graduated from the University of Michigan in 2014 and from there freelanced as a local copy editor and proofreader, and served as a research assistant to a local Detroit journalist. Her work has been featured in the Ann Arbor Observer and Sage Business Researcher. She is currently assistant editor, personal finance at The Washington Post.