In the December 2020 COVID-19 relief package, Congress established the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP). It makes $25 billion available to assist households that are unable to pay rent and utilities due to the pandemic.

On February 22, 2021, the U.S. Treasury Department issued updated Frequently Asked Questions for ERAP. State and local governments, as grantees, should use these FAQs as a way to determine how to distribute the funds and who is eligible.

The updated FAQs outline:

An “eligible household” is defined as a renter household in which at least one or more individuals either qualifies for unemployment or has experienced a reduction in household income, incurred significant costs, or experienced a financial hardship due to COVID-19; shows a demonstrable risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability; and whose household income at or below eighty percent of the area median. Household income is determined as either the household’s total income for calendar year 2020 or the household’s monthly income at the time of application. Income eligibility must be redetermined every three months for household incomes determined using the monthly method.

Eligible households may receive up to twelve months of assistance, plus potential for an additional three months if the grantee determines the extra months are needed to ensure housing stability and funds are available. Households may reapply for additional assistance at the end of the three-month period if the overall time limit for assistance is not exceeded.

Eligible households may apply directly or rental housing providers can apply on behalf of households. Funds will be paid directly to landlords and utility service providers. Although, if a landlord does not wish to participate, funds may be paid directly to the eligible household. For the sake of transparency, the U.S. Treasury Department will issue quarterly public reports on the use of funds. As additional guidance from the U.S. Treasury Department is made available, the members of the National Apartment Association will be updated.

Stay tuned for any additional updates as they arise. We are here for you.  If you have any questions, give us a call at the number below.