If you need help paying your monthly rent the Washington DC Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) may be able to assist. Or if you are moving to a new home or apartment the program can even help pay for security deposits or first month’s rent. The program was created to help people who are faced with a housing emergency.
With a goal of preventing evictions, the funds will go to pay up to five months of past due rent for qualified individuals. As indicated above, money can also be used to provide for paying either security deposits or first month’s rent. This is available when doing so would prevent a family from being homeless or help to keep a family living together as one family unit.
Low income Washington DC households with children, people with disabilities, and senior citizens/elderly may qualify for financial assistance. The program provides funding and cash grants for paying overdue rent if a qualified household is facing eviction from their home or apartment. Funds can also help pay for court costs and late costs.
As with most resources, the amount that can be paid on behalf of qualified low income families depends on the household’s total income and their available resources, and is subject to certain limitations. When applying it is important to note that resources that are available from the Washington DC Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) can only be used once per year for each qualified household.
A couple years ago the average ERAP payment per qualified household was just over $2000. Almost 4,000 people were able to receive emergency funds. The vast majority of payments from the ERAP program will be paid to low income households with children. In many cases this may have also included households that also had a member with a disability or an elderly household member. Most funds also go to pay back rent as well and were used to prevent evictions.
In general, households that participate in the program must include an adult over the age of 59, at least one child under the age of 19, or the household must have a person with a medical disability. While it will depend on funding available, there will also be limits on the amount ERAP can pay per household. This is typically five months of back rent or a total of $4,250, while first month's rent and security deposits are limited to at most $900.
Primarily because of the high demand for housing as well as rental assistance in Washington, D.C. area, only low income residents may be qualified for the Emergency Rent Assistance Program (ERAP). Currently applications are taken, and the program is administered through several different non-profit community-based organizations including Housing Counseling Services (HCS). The primary goal of the program was to pay back rent when a renter is faced with an imminent eviction. While not as common, some cash will be provided each year to either pay for first month's rent and/or security deposits. This will really only be paid out when needed to prevent a household from becoming homeless or to prevent a family from becoming separated. The ERAP program will not assist with mortgage payments or utilities.
Call 202-667-7006, or stop by the Washington DC Housing Counseling Services, which is located at 2410 17th St. NW, Suite 100, Washington, DC 20009 to learn more or apply.
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