Americans at risk of eviction are already stretched thin. This can make applying for eviction resources seem overwhelming.
“They're also struggling to put food on the table, struggling to secure employment, going to appointment after appointment to secure benefits to keep their families safe," says Emily Benfer of The Eviction Lab. “That's a lot of toxic stress that that household is already undergoing, so the idea of adding 20 more calls to social services is daunting."
Service providers understand this and are making the application process easier.
“It's on us service providers to make it as low-barrier as possible," says Emma Schmit, housing director of Lakes and Prairies Community Action Partnership (CAPLP), in Moorhead, MN. “They can call us, they can text us, we can do it over the phone, they can also walk in. You just need to do one assessment."
Eviction resources specialists across the county can connect renters with the services they need. Schmit says people should reach out at the first sign of trouble.
“If they get a late notice or a disconnection notice, we want them to contact us as soon as they can," she says. “It does take time."
There are many eviction resources that renters can use to stay in their homes. Some renters will qualify for federal housing programs. Others can use emergency rental assistance, get help paying for utility bills, food, moving expenses and more.
If you're part of a low-income household, start by applying for federal housing programs. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) runs several affordable housing and grant programs in the U.S.
To see if you qualify, contact a Public Housing Agency (PHA) at (800) 569-4287. You can also search for a qualified agency online. Just enter your state to find a HUD-approved adviser in your region. Housing counselors can help you sign up for programs if you're eligible.
Demand for these programs is high and the waitlist is very long. Some qualified applicants wait for months or years before they can get help. So, apply for short-term eviction resources, food aid and other programs in order to offset rental costs while you wait for a long-term solution.
2. Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA)
The U.S. Government stepped in to help Americans pay their rent and utility bills in 2021. The Federal Emergency Rental Assistance program distributed 46 billion dollars to states, U.S. territories, local governments and Native American tribes.
This program is pandemic-related and funds will run out. So, renters at risk of eviction should apply soon as possible. Search the federal database by city, ZIP code, state or tribe.
3. The NLIHC
The National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) also maintains a list of emergency eviction resources across the country. Many of the programs in this database will show up in other databases as well.
Sarah Gallagher, senior project director for the NILHC's ERASE project (Ending Rental Arrears to Stop Eviction), says that the NLIHC database is updated weekly. This helps applicants feel confident that funding is still available when they sign up.
The database includes state, county and city aid organizations. They distribute the funds to renters in many ways. Some help pay back rent or utility bills. Others provide legal help or cover moving expenses.
To see what's available near you, just enter your state, U.S. territory, tribe or locality into the online tool. The results will include a link to the program and a description of the communities that it serves. It also describes what the program funds, so you can target your applications effectively.
You will need to apply for each program individually. Be prepared for a wait.
“Many of the programs are pretty overwhelmed," explains Gallagher. “You want to make sure that they're applying for everything that they're eligible for. But they can only receive assistance from one. If they have two applications in, they can always withdraw one."
4. The CFPB
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) offers eviction resources for a variety of circumstances. You can search for advice about what to do if the eviction process has just started or if you've already been evicted. Resources are available in many languages, including Spanish, Vietnamese and Tagalog.
The CFPB also maintains an emergency rental assistance database. It includes organizations that will help renters pay overdue utility bills as well. Just enter your state, territory, tribe or tribal land into the dropdown menu to find available city, state, county and tribal programs near you.
You can also find housing counselors and agencies that offer free or discounted credit and renting advice. Enter your ZIP code to find resources in your neighborhood. All agencies are approved by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), so they can also determine if you're eligible for HUD programs.
“One good place to start is 211," explains Emma Schmit of CAPLP. “They can do that quick screening and then connect a family who needs diapers or food."
In addition to nutrition programs and services to help families meet their basic needs, 211 also provides mental health resources and help with medical bills and prescription medication. Some local programs also provide information about housing expenses and programs to pay utility bills.
You can call 211 from any telephone. When you share your location, you'll get updated information about programs that are available in your area. All calls are confidential.
You can also explore your options online at 211. Enter your address or ZIP code into the search tool to get connected with health and human service agencies close to home.
6. Direct-To-Tenant Resources
ERASE's Sarah Gallagher explains that some landlords are slow to accept Federal Emergency Rental Assistance, even though it can keep renters in their homes. Others refuse to accept it at all. A recent ERASE survey of participating programs across the country shows that this is a widespread problem.
“Overall, we found that the lack of participation was much more prevalent among landlords," she says. “Of the programs that responded, 27 percent said that landlords often or sometimes refused to participate."
Their reasons vary. Some landlords were unresponsive, unavailable or behind on paperwork. Others didn't want to produce a W-9 tax form or report their income. Still, others wanted to retain the ability to evict tenants, even though the tenants had been approved for ERA funds.
The NLIHC says that direct-to-tenant programs can help renters bypass uncooperative landlords. These programs pay tenants directly. The tenants use the funds to pay the landlords, and the landlord never knows where the money came from.
Renters can search a list of direct-to-tenant programs within the NLIHC database. If you have an unresponsive landlord, tell your housing counselor early in the application process. Focusing the search on direct-to-tenant resources — and using aid to pay for utilities or food — will save everyone time and energy and increase your odds of success.
7. Disability Services
There are a variety of federal programs to assist Americans with disabilities. These include public housing, subsidized housing and rental assistance programs.
The Disability Services homepage includes information about these programs, as well as links to state and local opportunities. Use it to see if you're eligible for a Non-Elderly Disability (NED) voucher to get help with your medical bills or to file a complaint. There's a special section for disabled veterans, as well.
8. The U.S. Department Of Veterans Affairs
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (or the VA) operates a number of services for veterans in crisis or at risk of homelessness. If you're at risk of eviction, contact your nearest VA medical center and ask to speak with a VA social worker. Female veterans can request the Women Veterans Program Manager. You can also chat online with a housing assistance specialist.
If you've already been evicted, call the National Call Center for Homeless Veterans at (877) 424-3838. You can speak with a trained VA counselor for free. This service is available 24 hours a day.
9. The Apartment Guide Eviction Resource Guide
The Apartment Guide Eviction Resources Guide provides a short summary of each state's eviction laws. It also lists rental assistance programs and other eviction resources.
Search for services in your state using the interactive map. Or, browse federal rent aid options and nationwide nutrition programs.
The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) offers help with home energy bills and minor energy-related repairs. Enter your household size and household income to see if you're eligible.
This program doesn't provide grants to individuals. Instead, it works with partner organizations across the country.
11. The Community Action Partnership
Renters in need can also reach out directly to a Community Action Agency. Many help with moving expenses, paying back rent and providing other eviction resources to renters at risk. This might be a good option if you're overwhelmed by the number of choices or if you're not sure which programs you qualify for.
“If someone is in that kind of situation, I'd encourage them to call their local Community Action Agency," says Emma Schmit. She explains that her organization, CAPLP, works like many Community Action Agencies across the country. “Since we have so many different programs, we can screen people for what kind of program they might be eligible for based on their income and the number of people in their household."
The Community Action Partnership maintains a database of all nonprofit and public groups funded by the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG). Type your state, county or ZIP code into the search tool to find a Community Action Agency near you. You can also browse the interactive map or search by agency name.
12. Salvation Army
Community Action Agencies and other state and local programs often partner with national organizations to help people meet their basic needs. The Salvation Army is one of those programs. It offers grants, emergency rental aid, nutrition programs and utility payment programs to renters across the country.
The services provided vary, depending on your location. Enter your city, state or ZIP code for information about the programs in your community.
13. Catholic Charities
This national network of faith-based charities provides food, affordable housing and other services to more than 15 million people across the country. The services provided vary by location.
Search for a church or service center in your area to see which services are available. Some partners pay for rent. Others offer help with security deposits and overdue utility bills. There may also be emergency grants available for renters at immediate risk of eviction.
14. United Way
This organization connects renters with federal eviction resources and nonprofit organizations close to home. Many rent aid options are already covered in other national and federal databases. But the organization's local connections can uncover additional funding sources.
Use the immediate needs tool to determine the kind of help you need most. You can also explore short-term and long-term financial resources and educational materials.
15. Just Shelter
Just Shelter connects renters with a range of eviction resources. Look for information about rental and tenant's rights. The site also includes legal aid organizations and pro bono attorneys who will represent low-income tenants in eviction cases for free.
Look for services by state using the interactive map or review the national resources.
16. Legal Services Corporation
The Legal Services Corporation gives you a list of Legal Aid attorneys who can take your case for free or for a reduced cost. Search by city or address to find one near you. Or use the interactive map to browse partners and legal aid firms across the country.
It includes links to free legal forms. You can also search recent datasets, research and studies by geography or legal problem area.
Go to Law Help for legal advice and free legal aid programs by state. It also includes a list of legal resources.
Renters can search by state on the interactive map or browse the list of partners across the country. Spanish speakers can get legal help on the Spanish language site.
The American Bar Association's Find Legal Help provides a list of legal aid services across the country. It also connects low-income renters with pro bono attorneys.
These attorneys are available to answer simple legal questions online. The site also includes links to state-specific legal resources.
19. U.S. Armed Forces Legal Assistance
Active-duty service members in the continental U.S. can contact U.S. Armed Forces Legal Assistance. Search for legal help by state or ZIP code.
Enter your branch of service into the online search tool. Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Navy and Marine Corps service members are eligible.
Eviction resources are available
Eviction remains a threat for many U.S. renters. But there are many eviction resources that can keep you in your home.