Because of the Covid Pandemic, many felons are wondering: “How can I get help paying my rent today?” Its a very stressful and scary time of uncertainty, and having secure housing is a top priority.
In this article we take a close look at housing resources and rental assistance programs that can help you stay off the streets if you have a felony and are facing eviction.
How to avoid getting evicted during COVID 19
If you have lost your job during the Covid Pandemic and are struggling to find a new job, you may not be able to make your rental payments.
Not paying rent on time, or at all puts you at risk for eviction and homelessness, so what can you do to make sure that you can stay in your current apartment or house?
The good news is that effective September 4, 2020 CDC (Centers for Disease Control) has issued a Temporary Eviction Moratorium that can help prevent the spread of Coronavirus.
If you meet their eligibility requirements, you will not be evicted from your current place of residence, even if you are not able to make full or partial rent payments. Here is a list of the eligibility requirements to be eligible for the eviction moratorium:
1. You have used your best effort to get all available government assistance for rent or housing assistance
2. You either expect to earn no more than $99,000 in annual income for Calendar Year 2020 (or no more than $198,000 if filing a joint tax return).
3. You were not required to report any income in 2019 to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, or received an Economic Impact Payment
(stimulus check) pursuant to Section 2201 of the CARES Act
4. You are unable to pay your rent in full or make a full housing payment due to substantial loss of household income, loss of paid hours of work or wages, lay-offs, or unexpected and high out-of-pocket medical expenses
5. You are trying to make the best effort to make timely partial payments that are as close to the full payment as your individual’s circumstances permit, taking into account other non-discretionary expenses.
6. If evicted you would likely become homeless, need to move into a homeless shelter, or need to move into a new residence shared by other people who live in close quarters because you have no other available housing options.
You need to fill out the following Declaration for each adult member of your household and hand it to your landlord.
You need to provide HONEST information on this declaration under penalty of perjury!!!
If you are eligible for the eviction moratorium, you will not get evicted from your current housing until December 31, 2020.
Programs that help pay rent
Here is a list of programs that can help with rental assistance.
1. Fannie Mae Disaster Response Network
Fannie Mae’s Disaster Response Network has HUD-approved housing advisors who provide the following services:
– Create a personalized recovery action plan
– Assistance working with your housing situation
– Financial coaching
– Access to Clearpoint’s Project online tools and resources
– Ongoing check-ins to ensure successful recovery
2. Community Action Agency (CAA) network
Community Action Agency network is funded by numerous federal government organizations. Across the US, CAAs serve almost 15 million people yearly in 96% of the nation’s counties. They provide individuals and families with free financial help for rent, utility bills, applications to public benefits, and other expenses.
To find your local community agency simply type into Google Search “community action agency near me”
3. Love Inc.
Love Inc is a national, faith based charity. Every local Love.Inc center partners with many churches, non-profits and religious groups to help individuals and families who are facing a crisis struggling to pay rent, bills or struggling to meet basic needs.
To find your local Love Inc branch, simply type into Google Search “Love inc near me”
Specific State Assistance With Rental Payments
Depending the prevalence and spread of Corona-virus in your state, the state issues additional rental and eviction assistance. For example, California has halted its evictions until 90 days after the end of the declared state of emergency.
You need to contact your local housing authority to see all types of financial assistance that may be available if you meet the eligibility requirements.
Rent Payments Help in Connecticut
The Rental Assistance Program (RAP)
The Rental Assistance Program helps very-low-income families to afford safe and sanitary housing in the private market. Eligible families are able to find their own housing.
Emergency Rental Assistance in Florida
Florida Emergency Solutions Grant Program (EFAHP)
The EFAHP program provides one time assistance to residents of Florida who are struggling to make rent or mortgage payments and are facing eviction. Funding is limited and is not available all the time. The cash advance is administered by local non-profits, as well as charities. Applications are accepted in these local agencies and funding is distributed by that government organization.
Rental Payment Assistance Programs in MA
If you live in Massachusetts, you may be eligible to receive financial assistance from either ERMA or RAFT programs.
RAFT (Residential Assistance for Families in Transition)
The program is for households Households with incomes up to 50% of Area Median Income (AMI)*, or 60% of AMI. Moreover, individuals or families who are at risk of homelessness because of domestic violence, are eligible for assistance.
RAFT helps keep households in stable housing situations when facing eviction, foreclosure, loss of utilities, and other housing emergencies. Its possible to get up to $10,000 per household to help preserve current housing or move to new housing.
Funding can be used for a variety of needs, including rent or mortgage payments, security deposits, or other expenses to help households obtain or maintain stable housing.
ERMA (Emergency Rental and Mortgage Assistance Program
ERMA offers rental and mortgage assistance to low-income households who have been impacted by COVID and may not be eligible for RAFT. You may be eligible if your household income falls within the 50-80% range of Area Median Income (AMI). You may get up to $4,000 for assistance with rent or mortgage payments that have accrued after April 1, 2020 and/or with upcoming rent or mortgage payments.
In the comments below, share any good resources you know that can help felons pay rent and avoid eviction.
About The Author
Joe is the founder of HireFelons.org. Having had friends and co-workers who have a felony conviction, Joe Hunter decided to use his expert knowledge in starting a successful business to launch HireFelons.org and teach as many former felons as possible how to earn a decent income, when finding a traditional job is simply not an option.