Rent Resources and Information
Residents cannot be evicted for the duration of the public health emergency plus sixty days; nor can they be charged late fees for the duration of the public health emergency. Renters are encouraged, to the best of their ability, to stay current on rent. Rent increases are also prohibited during the COVID-19 public health emergency plus 60 days.
- To read a summary of all tenant rights and resources during the COVID-19 public health emergency, follow this link to the Office of the Tenant Advocate’s website.
- If you cannot make rent, reach out to your housing provider or landlord, DHCD network of housing counseling organizations, or the Office of the Tenant Advocate.
- DC Government also has a free affordable housing listing and search engine dchousingsearch.org, where you can find everything from accessible homes to affordable rental and for-sale homes. Users can also find helpful resources such as renter's rights information, assistance programs, and an affordability calculator.
Stronger Together by Assisting You (STAY DC)
Through the Stronger Together by Assisting You (STAY DC) program, renters and housing providers can apply for grant funding to cover past and future rental payments in addition to utilities like water, gas, and electricity.
To qualify for STAY DC, you must be a renter or housing provider in the District who is at risk, or has a tenant at risk, of not paying rent or utilities on a residential dwelling. An applicant’s total 2020 annual household income, as set by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, may not exceed designated levels according to household size. Eligible households may receive up to 12 months of assistance going back to April 1, 2020, and 3 months of assistance for future payments at a time for a total of 18 months of assistance.
Renters and housing providers may submit applications for rental and utility assistance at stay.dc.gov, a user-friendly portal that provides a seamless and accessible process for renters and housing providers to facilitate requests for aid, as well as manage and track applications. Applicants can call the STAY DC Call Center at 833-4-STAYDC for support throughout their application process, Monday through Friday from 7 am to 7 pm. Residents will also be able to work with Community Based Organizations (CBO) to submit paper applications.
The STAY DC program will be administered by the Department of Human Services (DHS) in collaboration with the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED), the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services (DMHHS), and the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD).
*STAY DC replaces the District’s COVID-19 Housing Assistance Program (CHAP) and will augment the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) and Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).*
Funding for the program comes from the December Congressional Appropriations Act that made available $25 billion to States, U.S. Territories, local governments, and Indian tribes. The District’s share of the allocation is $200 million which is the minimum amount states may receive under the legislation. Additionally, the American Rescue Plan Act makes an additional $21.5 billion available with the District’s share of the allocation at $152 million meaning a total of $352 million is available for STAY DC and related efforts.
Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP)
The Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) helps District residents earning less than 40% of the Area Median Income (AMI) who are facing housing emergencies by providing funding for overdue rent including late fees and court costs if a qualified household is facing eviction. The program also supports security deposits and first month’s rent for residents moving into new apartments. The amount paid on behalf of eligible households depends on a household’s income and available resources, and is subject to certain limitations. District residents earning above the 40% AMI are connected to a local nonprofit to be evaluated for the COVID-19 Housing Assistance Program (CHAP).
Homelessness Prevention Program (HPP)
HPP supports eligible families (30% of Medium Family Income or below) to prevent episodes of homelessness through case management, mediation, financial assistance (including up to 4 months of rent arrears), and connection to housing resources. Since its launch, the program has prevented more than 7,000 unique families (83% of referrals) from entering shelter. In FY21, HPP has a budget of $4.1 million.
Families are assessed for HPP eligibility when completing intake at the Virginia Williams Family Resource Center (VWFRC), the central intake for DC’s coordinated homelessness assistance system for families with children.
Currently, VWFRC is conducting Assessments for Homeless Services via phone. The Center is closed for in-person interviews throughout the public health emergency. Families and individuals seeking access to homeless services may call the DC Shelter Hotline at (202) 399-7093 from 8 am-12 am, Monday-Sunday, or call 311 after hours.
DC MAP (Mortgage Assistance Program) COVID-19
The District of Columbia Housing Finance Agency (DCHFA) recognized an opportunity to provide financial assistance to those impacted by the effects of COVID-19. Through the DC MAP (Mortgage Assistance Program) COVID-19, qualified borrowers can receive a loan up to $5,000 monthly toward their mortgage for up to six months. Borrowers must be applying for financial assistance for their primary residence, which must be located in the District of Columbia. DC MAP COVID-19 relief commences with April 1, 2020 payments associated with monthly mortgages. Interested applicants are asked to take the survey on DCHFA’s website to confirm if they’re eligible to apply. Click here to review the full list of borrower qualifications and to apply to the program.
Mortgage Resources and Information
On April 7, 2020, DC Council passed emergency legislation creating a mandatory 90-day mortgage deferment program for residential and commercial mortgage holders who request one. No late fees or penalties would accrue, and repayment of the deferred amount may be done via payment plan, not through a lump payment. This program requires landlords to pass along proportionate savings to their tenants if they receive a deferment. Click below FAQ for more information or contact the DC Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking.
- FAQs and Guidance: Residential Mortgage and Commercial Mortgage Deferment Program
- What Banks Are Doing to Support Homeowners
- Foreclosure Prevention During Coronavirus
The Department on Energy and Environment (DOEE) assists income-eligible District households with heating and cooling energy costs through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). Eligible households may receive energy bill assistance between $250 and $1,800 as a one-time regular energy assistance benefit. This benefit is based on household size, total household income, heating source, and type of dwelling.
For more information, visit https://doee.dc.gov/liheap.
Utility Disconnections Prohibited: The COVID-19 Response Emergency Amendment Act of 2020 passed on March 17, 2020 prohibits electric, gas, and water from being disconnected for non-payment during the declared public health emergency.
Pepco is waiving new late fees and suspending service disconnections through at least May 1 and will be working with customers on a case-by-case basis to establish payment arrangements and identify energy assistance options. Customers who may be experiencing challenges paying their Pepco bill should contact Pepco Customer Care at (202) 833-7500.
The Utility Discount Program (UDP) assists low-income District residents reduce their utility costs. Eligible customers may receive a discount of up to $475 per year on their electric bill ($300 per year if non-electric heat). District residents can visit the Department of Energy and the Environment website at doee.dc.gov to apply online or calling 3-1-1 to schedule an in-person appointment.
The Greater Washington Urban League provides up to $500 in assistance to eligible customers facing disconnection. Customers can call 202-265-8200 or visit www.gwul.org.