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How to Finance Your Rental with the Help of the Federal Government

With the economy going haywire, many households found themselves between a rock and a hard place, unable to cover their rent payments while also not being able to find other affordable housing options on the market. 

The government is fully aware of the effect this high-inflation environment has had on American households, and they’ve taken action to make sure the needs of every American are met. 

This also applies to housing, and through the Emergency Rental Assistance Program, they can distribute funds to numerous qualifying landlords, utility providers, and rental services to help struggling Americans with their housing costs. 

Renters and landlords that are interested in becoming part of the program can find out more about it through the interagency portal hosted by the CFPB. 

There’s more help out there than you’d possibly imagine, and all it takes is to reach out to someone.

How does it work?

Contrary to popular belief, this program can be beneficial to both landlords and renters, as it provides assistance for a multitude of different needs, and sometimes even landlords struggle in today’s housing market. 

Finding tenants is one thing, but making your prices manageable for them is even more difficult, and many landlords find themselves torn between keeping their tenants or charging them more for rent, even though they may risk losing them that way. 

Americans can apply for the ERA program by contacting their local and/or state governments, which will then decide how to distribute the money they received from the Treasury Department to the many needy communities in the area. 

The application process is the same for landlords and renters, and a renter may even be required to include you in the application, as the assistance they’ll be receiving will go towards the housing expenses they’re paying to you.

What does the program cover?

Essentially, the ERA program itself doesn’t allocate any funds to individuals as a means of assistance, but rather, they distribute it to local organizations and governments which will then hand it off to the programs that cover rent, utility, and other housing expenses. 

Oftentimes, this includes the bills for gas, electricity, fuel, water, and sewage, as well as trash removal, most of which go towards your rent if your landlord is the one tasked with paying the utility bills. 

With the rental assistance program, renters and landlords can also receive additional funding to help cover internet service bills and the many moving expenses that apply to families currently in the process of relocating. 

At times, the ERA may also offer funds for counseling programs, case management, and legal representation, so long as the applicants meet the minimum requirements for the program.

Eligibility

In order to apply for ERA, you must first have proof that you’re actually paying it, which will usually be the rental agreement you’ve signed with the landlord.

Usually, the ERA doesn’t require a signed lease, and you could receive benefits even if you’re living in an apartment, house, or even a mobile home, so long as there’s irrefutable proof you’re paying for housing. 

On top of this, at least a single member of the household must qualify for unemployment, be owed some significant expenses, or have proof of other financial hardships in the recent past. 

Other eligibility requirements are tied to your household’s income, which has to be below a certain threshold, with the final criteria being that at least one member of the household is going through an instability period when it comes to housing.

This usually means that they’re at risk of becoming homeless or that they would normally have a hard time finding a place to live for extended periods of time.

Bottom line

When you do apply for the ERA program, you’ll be required to show proof that you meet all of the aforementioned requirements, whereas landlords will have to provide the same information about their tenants.

You may also have to sign a written statement regarding your current housing situation, confirming that all of the information you’ve submitted is true and complete.

This also ensures that the funds you receive will go towards your living expenses and nothing else. All in all, help is definitely out there, and it’s up to you to find it, whether you’re the one providing housing to others or in need of affordable housing yourself.

Programs like the ERA and the Housing Choice Voucher program help Americans spend only 30% of their income on their monthly housing expenses, making them less burdened by these monthly payments and allowing them to focus on improving their financial stability.

 The pandemic has caused a major upset in the housing market that may take years to recover, but with these government-funded housing assistance programs, the American people can have it much easier than they normally would.