CONTRIBUTED BY CONSUMER FINANCIAL PROTECTION BUREAU
COVID-19 stressed renters who are worried about inflation and the economic impact of the war in Ukraine can get help with missed rent and utility payments by accessing federal government relief programs, said information from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).
All 50 states and hundreds of local, tribal and other programs are distributing funds. As part of an unprecedented economic recovery effort, the federal government has allocated more than $46 billion to assist households unable to pay rent, utilities and other housing costs.
Renters can get help STAT, by using the following tips:
SEARCH FOR A HUD-APPROVED HOUSING COUNSELOR TO DISCUSS OPTIONS THAT MIGHT WORK FOR YOU.
You can find a housing counselor (https://www.consumerfinance.gov/find-a-housing-counselor/) or call 800-569-4287 for information on how to find one. A housing counselor can help you consider your options and make a budget.
TALK TO YOUR LANDLORD ABOUT APPLYING FOR GOVERNMENT RELIEF FUNDS.
Many rental assistance programs are accepting applications from both landlords and renters. Where renters can apply, they often need help from landlords to complete the application process. Working together, you’ll have a better chance of getting rental assistance funds. You don’t have to be behind on rent to get assistance. Some programs offer help with future rent. However, if you have overdue rent, the money you get must go toward rent that you owe before it can be used for future rent.
APPLY FOR HELP COVERING YOUR MISSED RENT OR UTILITIES.
Find out where to apply by using the CFPB Rental Assistance Finder, www.consumerfinance.gov/renthelp and apply for assistance in Alabama. Federal rules allow local rental assistance programs to cover rent or utilities for low-income families. This generally includes renter households with income up to 80% of the Area Median Income (AMI), with adjustments for family size. Year-round help with utility bills may be available through your local Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) office, or by calling the National Energy Assistance Referral Hotline at 866-674-6327.
TOUCH BASE WITH YOUR LANDLORD, RENTAL COMPANY, OR UTILITY COMPANY ABOUTDEFERRED PAYMENT OR OTHER OPTIONS.
This can be a tough conversation to have. Start by helping your landlord understand why this conversation is important to you. Jot down your thoughts to the following questions if needed and think about what you want to say. What would it mean for you and your family to remain housed where you are? What can you offer for a deferred payment? Is your home close to work and school? What do you appreciate about your landlord, your home or your neighborhood?