Did you know that there are many Washington DC rental assistance programs that can help you maintain your housing despite rising housing costs? If you need help, you’re in the right place.
Government-Funded Washington DC Rental Assistance
There are several government programs in Washington DC that may be able to assist you with your housing costs.
COVID-19 Housing Assistance Program (CHAP)
CHAP is the official COVID-19 Washington DC rental assistance program.
What does CHAP cover?
CHAP covers up to three months of overdue rent. You may be able to renew your application for another three months, for a total of six months of rent assistance.
How long is CHAP available?
The CHAP program will continue until the funds are depleted.
Who qualifies for CHAP?
In order to be eligible for CHAP, you must meet the following requirements:
- You must be a District resident.
- You must have an income at or below 80% of the Median Family Income.
- You must owe past-due rent or be unable to pay your current rent.
- You must have been financially impacted by COVID-19.
How do I apply for CHAP?
In addition, according to the DC Department of Housing and Community Development, landlords are required to offer rent payment plans to eligible DC tenants. You must submit an application and proof that you faced financial hardship as a result of the pandemic in order to be eligible. You can find more information here.
Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP)
ERAP, or the Emergency Rental Assistance Program, helps low income people in DC pay their rent.
What does ERAP cover?
ERAP provides rent relief, as well as assistance with move-in costs or eviction costs. The amount of funding that you will receive will depend on the type of assistance you are applying for.
Per HUD guidelines, ERAP may be able to provide up to five times the rental amount based on the housing unit’s zip code and bedroom size.
However, if you are applying for help with move-in costs, the amount of rent paid will not be more than the actual cost of one month’s unsubsidized rent. The security deposit cannot exceed the cost of one month’s unsubsidized rent either. If you are a current DC resident, you can apply for assistance with move-in costs in DC or a neighboring county.
Who qualifies for ERAP?
ERAP is available to District residents who meet the following guidelines:
- You must be a current DC resident.
- You must earn less than 40% of the Area Median Income. In 2021, that $2,940 per month for an individual, $3,360 for a couple or $4,200 for a family of four.
- You must be at least 30 days past-due on rent or face a threat of homelessness.
You can apply for ERAP once in a 12-month period.
How do I apply for ERAP?
You can apply for ERAP online or with a paper application at any of the six community-based organizations that administer ERAP.
You will need to be prepared to provide the following documentation:
- Proof of residency (a lease or landlord letter)
- Photo ID for all adults in the house
- Proof of income for 30 days (pay stubs, benefit letters, child support, etc.)
- Proof of resources or benefits (bank statements, benefit letters, etc.)
The six organizations that administer ERAP include:
- The Southeast Family Center
- Housing Counseling Services
- Salvation Army
- The Community Partnership for the Prevention of Homelessness
- The United Planning Organization
- The Greater Washington Urban League
STAY DC is no longer accepting applications. Instead, the site directs you to apply for ERAP.
Other Housing Counseling Services
The Rental Accommodation Division also provides counseling to tenants who are facing eviction or need rental assistance. Here are a few numbers you can call for assistance:
- Talk to a DHCD representative by calling (202) 442-9505.
- Contact DC Office of the Tenant Advocate at (202) 719-6560.
- Contact Housing Counseling Services at (202) 667-7006.
- Contact Latino Economic Development Corp at (202) 588-5102.
Other Washington DC Rental Assistance Programs
There are other rent relief programs offered by Churches, charities and other organizations as well.
Grace through Faith Ministries
I have located this Church on multiple resource directories but I have been unable to independently confirm whether or not they offer any sort of rent relief. It may be worth reaching out, but it is possible that they do not offer this service any longer.
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!