20 Programs for Emergency Rent Assistance

Rising rent and housing prices have forced many Americans to seek assistance with covering their most basic expenses. Fortunately, there are many programs working to help average families cover their monthly payments on time without losing their homes.

Both state and federal programs offer comprehensive rent assistance through private and publicly run housing. For families who fail to meet the requirements for government assistance, there are several non-profit organizations that can offer financial support as well as the option to take out a bank or payday loan.

If you are worried that you might be evicted because you cannot make rent, continue reading to learn more about your options. You are not alone in these trying times and could find financial support within the next day.

State and Federal Programs

The following government-run programs are designed to help low-income individuals cover their housing expenses to avoid homelessness. They either help provide direct housing or financial support to cover a portion of the rent:

  • Section 8 Housing – Section 8 may have once had a bad reputation but, in its modern form, the program simply provides a voucher to cover rent and utility fees—both in privately owned and publicly maintained communities. Funds are directly paid to the landlord and whatever they do not cover, you are liable to pay. Section 8 is a federal program available in all 50 states.
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI) – Also known as federal disability assistance, SSI provides general financial support to low-income Americans with a disability. These funds are deposited directly into recipients’ accounts to be used for rent, utilities, groceries, and other living expenses. Funds are calculated based on the recipients’ current income.
  • Department of the Treasury – The United States Department of the Treasury provides rental assistance to low-income families through the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP). There are currently two separate ERAP programs, both of which provide federal funds to local governments. Eligibility is relative to average county median incomes and is determined by state rental assistance programs.
  • County Housing Assistance – Depending on your location, your county may offer housing assistance in the form of direct financial support. Not all locations offer county housing assistance, though, so it’s best to contact your local housing authority or welfare office.
  • Block Grants – Each state has an allocated amount of federal block grants to be used for rental assistance. The program is designed to lower local housing prices and is not meant to be directly deposited into recipients’ accounts.

Subsidized Housing Programs

Subsidized housing is by no means a short-term solution and can take time to qualify for but, if eligible, it can help to reduce your monthly expenses and make it easier to cover your rent.

  • Government Subsidized Housing – Federal and state-subsidized housing is owned and maintained by the government and offered to families that fall below 80% of the local median income. Government-subsidized housing is often hard to qualify for and there is a lack of available units.
  • Private Subsidized Housing – Privately owned subsidized homes are not maintained by the government but building managers receive federal and state tax breaks to offset the price of residents’ rents. These tax breaks allow tenants to afford private properties without paying as much for their homes.

Non-Profit Organizations Offering Rental Assistance

Beyond state and federal programs, there are several non-profit organizations and NGOs that offer housing assistance throughout the nation. These organizations are funded through donations and designed to help people in need.

  • Hopelink Eviction Prevention Assistance – Hopelink is a direct financial assistance program that negotiates payments with landlords to prevent tenants from being evicted. They can provide up to $1,000 of support to cover back payments as well as upcoming rent and utility fees.
  • Red Cross Assistance – If you have recently lost your home to a natural disaster, the American Red Cross can provide support to help you find shelter. Their programs include rent assistance but are generally selective to certain situations. They can however offer support to families who have recently been evicted or living in shelters.
  • Modest Needs – Modest Needs is a donor-supported organization that helps unemployed and homeless individuals secure steady work and access up to $1,000 to be used to cover their first rent.
  • The Salvation Army – Some, but not all, Salvation Army outfits offer one-time financial support to help families cover their rent. Applicants must submit proof of their situation in person and, if approved, will only receive enough money to cover one month’s rent.
  • The United Family Network – The United Family Network is a national charity that works to secure funds from donors to cover basic living expenses for low-income families. It also works with several other affiliate programs throughout the country so, even if they’re not located in your area, there could be partner programs nearby.

Religious Charities

Most major faiths encourage charitable works and offer support for families in need—particularly for the homeless or at-risk.

  • Catholic Outreach Programs – Many Catholic parishes offer emergency rent assistance to families at risk of eviction. They may also be in contact with local organizations that can provide financial support in your time of need.
  • Jewish Family Services – Many Jewish communities offer similar services as the Catholic community, providing shelter, financial support, and connections to local organizations that offer financial funding to the needy.

Assistance Programs By Need

Several programs have also been set up to provide financial support for at-risk communities and populations that struggle to earn a sustainable living. Depending on your personal situation, you may qualify for these programs:

  • The Arc Program – The Arc Program is designed to provide direct financial aid to disabled adults who are unable to maintain a job due to their physical or mental condition. It offers a range of services, including rent assistance to alleviate financial burden.
  • Single Parents Alliance of America – The SPAOA provides financial support for both mothers and fathers raising a child on their own. It recognizes that many single parents struggle to maintain financial stability on their own and offers rental assistance to alleviate some of that burden.
  • Veterans Assistance and Financial Support – VA financial assistance is usually based on existing physical and emotional disabilities, however, all veterans can apply for support.
  • Youth On Their Own – The YOTO program is specifically designed to support children living without parents or guardians. It provides direct financial aid for students but has built-in educational enrollment and grade requirements.

Loan Assistance

If you do not meet the requirements for the programs shared above, you may still qualify for financial assistance through an institutional or local lender. Below, you’ll find a of couple options that provide short-term personal loans to cover emergency expenses.

  • Bank Loans – Depending on your credit score and financial situation, you may qualify for a personal loan through your bank. The bank may even offer direct rent assistance depending on your history with their service. The bank will negotiate with your landlord and pay your debts directly.
  • Short-Term Loans – If your credit score is not high enough to qualify for support through a bank, you could qualify for a pay-day loan through a short-term lender. These loans for rent are designed to be fully inclusive and don’t rely on your credit score. As long as you can prove a stable income, you could qualify for up to $255 depending on your location.

Final Thoughts

Although there are many programs designed to help average Americans cover their rent, they often set strict requirements and take time to qualify for. If you are in need of immediate financial support, your best bet is to apply for a short-term loan and pay it back by your next payday.