Between the federal stimulus package passed in December and the one making its way through Congress, there could soon be more than $45 billion in financial assistance available to those who’ve fallen behind on their rent.
All states have already been allocated funds from a $25 billion pot of federal money included in the earlier relief bill, and the $1.9 trillion stimulus package in the works and expected to pass this month sets aside another $20 billion.
Advocates say the assistance could help millions of Americans stay in their homes during the pandemic. However, they also worry some people will run into issues trying to access the funds.
That’s because the process of applying for the money varies state by state, and the rollout of the programs hasn’t been quick. While the first round of $25 billion in rental assistance was passed more than two months ago, just 15 states have begun giving the money out, according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition.
“But new programs are opening regularly,” said Diane Yentel, president and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition.
The best way to increase your odds of getting the assistance is to stay informed about the rules, experts say. Here’s what you need to know.