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Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) is a lifeline for renters facing eviction or utility shut-off. Funded by the U.S. Department of Treasury, ERAP provides financial aid to eligible households to cover rent and utility bills.

Who is Eligible for Emergency Rental Assistance Program?

While the exact requirements vary by location, here's a breakdown of who might be eligible for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP):

  1. Financial Hardship:
    • COVID-19 Impact: You'll need to demonstrate facing financial difficulty due to the pandemic. This could include job loss, income reduction, increased medical bills, or other hardships directly or indirectly caused by COVID-19.
  2. Income Limits:
    • Area Median Income (AMI): Your income will likely need to fall below a certain percentage of the Area Median Income (AMI) for your location. This percentage varies by program, but programs prioritize applicants with income below 50% of AMI. You can find your AMI using Fannie Mae's Area Median Income Lookup Tool [Area Median Income Lookup Tool].

Risk of Housing Instability:

  • Eviction Threat: Facing eviction or foreclosure proceedings strengthens your application.
  • Homelessness Risk: Demonstrating a risk of homelessness due to financial hardship can also be a factor.

Additional Considerations:

  • Landlords: In some programs, landlords can apply on behalf of eligible tenants.
  • Subsidized Housing: Recipients of certain housing assistance programs might still be eligible for ERAP for uncovered rent or utility costs.

Finding Out More:

For specific details and eligibility requirements, contact your local ERAP program administrator. You can find your local program through the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) ERAP Search Tool [].

What Does ERAP Cover?

The Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) acts as a safety net for various housing-related expenses. Here's a breakdown of what it typically covers:

  • Rent: This is the core function of ERAP. It can cover both past due rent (arrears) and future rent payments, helping you catch up on payments and stay current.
  • Utilities: Struggling to pay for utilities like electricity, gas, water, trash removal, and even internet in some cases? ERAP can help cover these essential costs to maintain a safe and healthy living environment.
  • Late Fees: Facing late fees due to missed rent or utility payments? ERAP might be able to cover reasonable late fees, easing the financial burden and preventing further penalties.

Beyond these core expenses, some programs might offer additional assistance depending on their budget and regulations:

  • Security Deposits: Moving to a new place often requires a security deposit. ERAP funds might be used to help cover this cost, making relocation smoother.
  • Relocation Assistance: In some cases, ERAP can help with moving expenses if you're forced to relocate due to eviction or unsafe living conditions.

Important Note: It's crucial to remember that program specifics can vary by location. Always check with your local ERAP administrator to get the most accurate information on what expenses they cover in your area.

How to Apply for ERAP

While there's no single application portal for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP), fortunately, finding and applying for your local program is relatively straightforward. Here's how to navigate the process:

  1. Locate Your Local ERAP Program: Since ERAP is administered by state and local agencies, the application process varies by location. Here are some resources to help you find your program:
  2. Prepare Required Documents: Once you locate your local program, gather the necessary documents for your application. These typically include:
    • Proof of income (pay stubs, tax returns)
    • Proof of residency (lease agreement, utility bills)
    • Documentation of hardship (unemployment documents, medical bills)
    • Proof of risk of eviction (eviction notice, court documents)
  3. Submit Your Application: Each program will have its own application process. This might involve:
    • Online Application: Many programs offer online applications for convenience.
    • Paper Application: Some programs might require downloading and printing a paper application.
    • In-Person Application: In some cases, you might need to visit a local agency to submit your application.
  4. Follow Up and Stay Informed:
    • After submitting your application, check the program's website or contact them for updates on processing times and decisions.
    • Some programs might offer waiting lists, so be patient and stay informed about the next steps.

Additional Tips:

  • Apply Early: Funds are often limited, so apply as soon as possible, especially if you face imminent eviction.
  • Seek Help: If you encounter difficulties navigating the application process, don't hesitate to reach out to local non-profit organizations or legal aid services for assistance.

By following these steps and utilizing the provided resources, you can increase your chances of successfully applying for ERAP and receiving vital help with your housing costs.

Stay Secure: Avoiding ERAP Scams

Unfortunately, with any government program offering financial assistance, there's a risk of scams. Here's how to stay secure and avoid falling victim to Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) scams:

Red Flags to Watch Out For:

  1. Upfront Fees: Legitimate ERAP programs will never charge upfront fees for application processing or assistance.
  2. Unfamiliar Payment Methods: Be wary of requests for payment via gift cards, money transfers, or cryptocurrency. These are almost always scams.
  3. Unrealistic Guarantees: If someone promises immediate approval or guarantees a specific amount of assistance, it's likely a scam.
  4. Personal Information Requests: While the application process will require some personal information, legitimate programs won't ask for unrelated details like your Social Security number or bank account information upfront.

Tips to Stay Safe:

  1. Contact Your Local Program Directly: Don't rely on unsolicited calls, emails, or texts claiming to be from ERAP. Find contact information for your local program through trusted resources like the NLIHC ERAP Search Tool ( or the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (
  2. Verify Information: If unsure about a request, contact your local program administrator directly to confirm its legitimacy.
  3. Report Scams: If you suspect a scam, report it to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at or by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357).


  • Legitimate ERAP programs will never pressure you or create a sense of urgency.
  • If something seems too good to be true, it probably is.

By staying alert and following these tips, you can protect yourself from ERAP scams and receive the legitimate assistance you deserve.

Frequently Asked Questions
What is ERAP?

ERAP is a federally funded program that provides financial assistance to renters struggling to pay rent and utilities due to COVID-19 related hardships.

Who qualifies for ERAP?

Eligibility requirements vary by location, but generally include facing financial hardship due to COVID-19, having income below a certain area median income (AMI) limit, and being at risk of eviction or homelessness.

What does ERAP cover?

ERAP typically covers rent (past due and future), utilities, late fees, and sometimes security deposits or relocation assistance. Check with your local program for specifics.

How much assistance can I receive through ERAP?

The amount of assistance varies depending on program funds, your income, and your needs.

How do I apply for ERAP?

There's no single application portal. Find your local program administrator using the NLIHC ERAP Search Tool ( or Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (

What documents do I need to apply for ERAP?

Documents typically include proof of income, residency, hardship due to COVID-19, and risk of eviction.

Is there a deadline to apply for ERAP?

Programs may have deadlines or waiting lists. Apply as soon as possible, especially if facing eviction.

How long does it take to get approved for ERAP?

Processing times vary by program. Contact your local program administrator for updates.

Can my landlord apply for ERAP on my behalf?

In some programs, landlords can apply for assistance for eligible tenants.

How can I avoid ERAP scams?

Be wary of unsolicited calls, emails, or requests for upfront fees. Legitimate programs will never pressure you or ask for unrelated personal information. Report suspected scams to the FTC at

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