The COVID-19 pandemic has led to the highest level of unemployment since the Great Depression, and families continue to struggle financially as a result of pandemic-related job loss. Even with the extension of the eviction moratorium, over 6.5m families are behind on rent, collectively owing $20b to landlords. As the Delta variant surges across the United States, it is critical that we keep people housed and safe.
Access to emergency rental assistance is an important stopgap in preventing evictions and sheltering families through the pandemic. Below are ways DC families can access emergency rental assistance and help advocate for greater housing protections:
Emergency Rental Assistance Resources:
- Call 2-1-1 or visit www.211.org to be connected to a local call center that can share information about emergency rental assistance programs in your area.
- Apply for rental assistance with STAY DC, a financial assistance program for DC renters and housing providers who are looking for support to cover housing and utility expenses.
- Contact a legal aid attorney. Legal aid organizations in DC like The Neighborhood Legal Services Program can offer free legal guidance and representation. Find other legal aid organizations in your area here and here.
- Contact your elected officials. Your councilmember may be able to recommend additional rental assistance resources. Visit the Council’s website or call (202) 724-8000 to be connected to the general line.
Advocate for Housing Protections:
- Contact your council members (DC Council resources here), representatives, and senators and asking them to:
- Continue to extend eviction moratoriums until vaccination rates increase in communities where many families are at risk of eviction. In DC Wards 7 and 8, only 31% and 37% of the eligible populations are fully vaccinated.
- Quickly distribute emergency rental assistance. Only about $3b of the $46b in emergency rental assistance provided by Congress has been spent. DC should ensure rental assistance programs like STAY DC are visible and able to quickly distribute aid to families in need.
- Enact additional rental projections, such as the right to counsel, that can protect renters now and in the long term.
- Join The Way Home Campaign, which is working to end chronic homelessness in DC.