It's been two months since millions of Americans received their third stimulus check, but at $1,400, it wasn't enough to help many of them. Fortunately, the stimulus check wasn't the only type of financial aid available in the American Rescue Plan relief package that became a law in March. For one thing, it also offers parents a way to get monthly checks thanks to the federal child tax credit. Also, homeowners struggling to pay their mortgages are be able to get help due to the Homeowners Assistance Fund in the plan. However, many of those facing financial dilemmas rent their homes, but there is help for them too, and some renters can actually receive up to $25,000.
While renters currently don't need to worry about being evicted thanks to a temporary nationwide ban on the practice, the ban expires on June 30, which is causing a lot of anxiety for unemployed renters. According to a recent study, almost six million people are behind on their rent and altogether they owe nearly $20 billion. To assist them, Congress has made available $46 billion in aid as part of the Emergency Rental Assistance program. The funding is set aside for renters who are having difficulties paying rent or utilities.
Americans are eligible if at least one member of their household qualifies for unemployment or is willing to state in writing that the pandemic has caused them to lose income and they are struggling to pay rent. They also need to provide proof that they could wind up homeless - either with a rent notice or a past-due utility bill. Finally, their 2020 income has to have fallen below 80% of their community's median income.
If you fit the bill, head to the National Low Income Housing Coalition's website, where you'll find almost 400 rental assistance programs that offer up to 18 months of financial aid, covering missed and future rent. Among the programs are ones available in individual states, and some are very generous. In Illinois, eligible tenants and landlords can apply for one-time grants of up to $25,000 to cover a maximum of 15 months of missed rent. Texas is offering to cover unpaid rent and utilities going back to March, 2020, plus two months of future rent and utilities. They'll then help for another three months if it is still needed. New York is also assisting residents with up to 12 months of rent and utilities that are past due and potentially three additional months of support.