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8 Ways to Get FREE RI Rent Relief

8 Ways to Get FREE RI Rent Relief

If you’re struggling with your housing costs in Rhode Island, then you’ll be relieved to know that we’ve found many different organizations that offer RI rent relief!


Some of these programs are government-funded, others are run by Churches, and today we’ll show you all of the options that are available to you.

Statewide RI Rent Relief

There are many statewide programs that offer rent assistance in Rhode Island. These programs should be able to assist you no matter where you live in the state.

Rent Relief RI

Rent Relief RI is the official program for COVID-19 related rent assistance in Rhode Island. This program can offer more than 18 months of rental assistance if you are eligible!

What is Rent Relief RI?

Rent Relief RI is Rhode Island’s COVID-19 related rental assistance program. It can provide help with rent and utility payments for up to 18 months! This program can help you pay any past-due rent or utilities incurred on or after April 1, 2020.


What does Rent Relief RI do?

Rent Relief RI can help you pay back any past-due rent or utilities that you incurred on or after April 1, 2020. It can also help you pay your current or future rent and utilities!

The program can help you with:

  • Past due rent and utilities
  • Future rent and utilities (up to three months)
  • Security deposits

Utilities include electricity, water, trash and heat. You can apply for utilities assistance even if you don’t need help with your rent.

Unlike other states, Rhode Island has not set a maximum cap on the amount of rent you can receive assistance with. The amount is determined by your lease.

Who is eligible for Rent Relief RI?

In order to be eligible for Rent Relief RI, you must meet all of the following criteria:

  • Your household size must meet certain income limits, which vary depending on where you live and how many people are in your family.
  • You must have qualified for unemployment benefits OR have experienced a reduction in income OR have incurred significant costs OR have experienced other financial hardship either directly or indirectly due to COVID-19.
  • You must be at risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability. This can be proven by submitting past-due rent and utility bills or eviction notices.

How do you apply for Rent Relief RI?

You can apply online using the official Rent Relief RI dashboard. However, if you have difficulty with your application, you can call the call center at 1-855-608-8756 or attend one of their application assistance events.

How long does RI Rent Relief take?

The program prioritizes households using various criteria. If you are placed on a priority list, your application won’t take as long as others.


Top priority is given to households with very low incomes that are at or under 50% of the Area Median Income who are facing eviction and have been unemployed for 90 days or longer. You can prove a risk of eviction by having a notice to vacate, an eviction judgment, a court date notice, or a utility disconnection or 5-day demand letter.

Second priority is given to households who are very low income and facing a risk of eviction.

Third priority is given to very low income applicants who have been unemployed for 90 days or longer.

Fourth priority is given to very low income applicants who don’t meet the criteria for priority levels 1-3.

Fifth priority is given to all other applicants.

How long with Rent Relief RI be available?

Rent Relief RI will continue accepting applications until September 2022. The date may be extended if more federal funds are made available for rent relief.


Community Action Programs

Community Action Agencies may be able to offer rental assistance. For example, I was able to confirm that some rent relief is available from The Blackstone Valley Community Action Program (BVCAP) which serves families living in Pawtucket, Central Falls, Cumberland, Lincoln and Woonsocket.

Society of St. Vincent de Paul

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul is a Catholic organization that often helps with rent and other emergency needs. This program is often run by participating parishes.

The British Society

In order to receive help from The British Society, you must either be British (holding a passport of the United Kingdom or its dependencies) or a child of a British person who is residing in one of the six New England states. If you meet these eligibility requirements, then you may be able to receive one-time assistance with rent, airfare to the UK or car repairs.

Nationwide Rental Assistance Programs

There are some programs that provide assistance with rent all over the United States! For even more ways to get help with your rent, check this list!

Local RI Rent Relief

There are additional rental assistance programs that serve specific geographic areas. These programs are often limited to certain cities or counties, but are sometimes available to people who live in a certain region, zip code or church geographic boundary. Please contact each agency for specific details.

Blackstone Valley Area

Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence Project Hope

Project Hope offers emergency rental assistance, eviction prevention, utility assistance, prescription assistance, immigration and refugee services, translation services, citizenship classes, ESL classes, tax preparation, Thanksgiving baskets, Christmas gifts and so much more!


McAuley House

Sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, the McAuley House provides some incredible services to their community. In addition to offering rental assistance, the McAuley House also assists with daily meals, food, furniture, utilities, legal services, bus passes, personal care items, counseling and crisis intervention, help obtaining IDs and other personal documents, and more!


Johnnycake Center of Westerly

The Johnnycake Center of Westerly offers limited financial assistance for rent, utilities, education and other needs. Priority is given to households with young children, elderly or disabled adults, or veterans. In addition to offering RI rent relief, Johnnycake Center may also be able to assist with food, clothing, furniture, school supplies, Christmas gifts and more.


Family Support Center of Community Care RI

The Family Support Center offers many different types of assistance for Woonsocket residents. They have limited funding for emergency rental and mortgage assistance. They may also be able to assist with food, utilities, clothing and more.