Your cash infusion could come from a much better source than a lender. What’s better than getting a loan to put towards rent payments is an actual cash gift that does not have to be repaid.
Grants for rent payments are more common than you might think. Most are administered through the local rental assistance programs of area charities and local government agencies. They evaluate you to determine your needs, eligibility and suitability for assistance.
The grant amount is normally based on the amount you need to make a rent payment. In situations of delinquency, an assistance program may approve a payment of 1,2 or even 3 months of back rent to your landlord.
For families in transition, some agencies will supply cash towards a security deposit and/or first month’s rent. Occasionally a last month’s rent may also be provided if it is a requirement by your landlord. While loans must be repaid, grants would not. That means you could get to keep your security deposit when you move. Of course, you would still need to come up with a security deposit for your future move, so it is best to not count on that money until you receive it.
To become eligible, you first must meet with a case manager or intake counselor at the agency. You will have to provide evidence to support your request for help. This evidence may include a copy of your lease, W-2 or paystubs, ages and social security numbers for all household members, and finally documentation of any permanent disability.
You will also need to be prepared to answer questions about your household expenses. Expect to complete a budget with your case manager so that they can look for any wasteful spending.
Eligibility will largely depend on your annual household income, number of children, presence of any disabled or elderly adults in the home, and any hardship that your family is facing. These limits vary by agency so it is often best to meet with the case manager since they know the limits and exceptions for which you might qualify.
Some grants are approved only once. Many agencies with larger rental assistance programs may approve a request once per year. Other agencies may provide cash assistance multiple times per year if funds are available and the need is warranted.
If you need help with rent, see if you qualify for cash assistance before putting your family further in debt. Loans sound good, but grants sound great. If you qualify, take advantage of the opportunity. If your situation improves later on, consider thanking the organization by repaying what you are able.