Resources for Renters
As we continue to confront the reality of COVID-19 and the ripple effect it has on jobs and the economy it's important that we work together to help prevent people from being displaced from their homes. In this guide we have included answers to some frequently asked questions, as well as links to other resources to help navigate through these trying times.
|General Information on COVID 19 - CDC||Financial Assistance Links|
NEW: The Rental Assistance Finder was designed by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to help renters and housing providers find their local program and apply for assistance.
The US Dept of the Treasury has collected websites associated with their grantees’ Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) programs to help tenants and landlords find rental assistance programs in their local areas. In most cases, states encourage tenants and landlords to apply to the local ERA program in their area.
Guilford County Rental Assistance Program
Guilford County has announced that assistance is available to qualified households towards emergency monthly rental/utility assistance for their primary residence. Request for rental assistance can be submitted by either an eligible household or by a landlord on behalf of the eligible household.
The Emergency Rental and Utilities Assistance Program provides assistance with rent and utilities, to include electricity, water/sewer, trash removal, natural gas, propane, fuel oil, and internet.
For questions call (336) 641-3000.
Get help with your ERUA application:
Office hours: 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM Monday-Friday
Guilford County Department of Social Services
Greensboro: 1203 Maple Street
High Point: 325 East Russell Avenue
When submitting your application, you will be asked to attach the following documents:
1. Proof of residency (Driver’s License or any other official document evidencing residency)
2. Copy of rent statement or Lease Agreement and/or utility bills showing past due amount.
3. Household income verifications with proof of financial hardship for previous two months (paystubs, letter of termination/furlough, unemployment benefits, etc.).
More about Guilford County Assistance
City of Greensboro
Greensboro's program recieved a $10 million boost from Guilford County in October after exhausting their initial funding. They have since closed their portal to new applications to ensure that 1,300 applications that were already in the system are completed. Administrators of the funds say that about $500,000 of applications had been being processed each week.
Greensboro residents can continue to seek assistance through their county's application portal.
Winston-Salem has successfully completed its Emergency Rental Assistance Program. Through the program, more than 2,500 households in the city received a total of $11.7 million in assistance.
Winston-Salem residents can still apply for assistance through Forsyth County’s ERAP program (link below).
Forsyth County residents who have fallen behind on rent or utilities as a result of the pandemic can now apply in-person for financial assistance.
The Emergency Rental Assistance Program is open to all renters financially affected by the pandemic with a household income of 80 percent or less of the area’s median. That varies by household size but is about $55,000 for a family of four. These income limits were recently raised.
The program is designed to help with rent and utilities such as electricity, water, and internet service.
Here are the key information points for the program:
Contact phone number to apply: 1-855-838-6776 (toll free)
The Forsyth County Department of Social Services has set up an Emergency Rental Assistance Program application lab at its office on Highland Avenue. Appointments are available from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and can be made online. Walk-ins will be accepted, but those with appointments will have priority.
Applicants should bring an ID, proof of income, lease agreement, any bills or eviction notices, and a statement or proof of financial hardship.
More About Assistance in W-S/Forsyth County
If you are concerned about eviction or your landlord has already started eviction proceedings, please contact Legal Aid of NC at 1-866-219-5262 for assistance. Additional help for renters is available through the HUD Rental Housing Counseling and Eviction Prevention Program including contact information for local housing counselors.
Note: The Piedmont Triad Apartment Association does not assist in applications for rental assistance and does NOT play a role in determining or distributing rental assistance.
The application period for the HOPE program closed at 6pm on Friday, December 17, 2021 with available federal funding committed to applications currently in process. HOPE applications already under review will be processed, with awards to be paid on behalf of eligible applicants.
Landlords and tenants can check their application status at the Self-Service Applicant Portal or by contacting the HOPE call center at 888-9ASK-HOPE (888-927-5467).
frequently asked questions
do i still need to pay rent even When evictions have been halted?
Yes you do. The court's temporary halt of evictions did not affect your obligation to pay rent, and continuing to pay your rent protects your rights as a renter under North Carolina law.
* Note: As of August 27, 2021 there is no longer a state-wide or federal eviction moratorium in place.
It is important to note, the CARES Act 30-day notices are still likely required for covered properties, and properties remain subject to any filing restrictions due to rental assistance programs they may have taken part in.
If you're concerned you will not be able to pay your rent, we recommend that you communicate with your property manager with specific information about your situation to see what options they may be able to offer in this unusual circumstance.
What should i do if i am unable to pay my rent?
The most important thing that you can do is promptly communicate your situation with your Property Manager. When you contact them, it will improve your chances of getting the help you need if you provide documentation from an employer or other documentation that shows how you have been impacted by this crisis.
Ignoring notices and requests to contact your Property Manager is not advised. Frequent and timely communication is the best course of action.
Please remember that your property manager can't help you if you do not communicate your situation with them. When court proceedings in the state resume you will still owe any amounts due and may be subject to eviction; therefore, trying to work with your property manager to make payment arrangements is your best course of action.
This crisis has affected all of us and PTAA members want to do their part in helping people remain in their homes.
Like every other business, we have employees and supplier partners who depend on us for their livelihood, as well as other obligations we have to meet like insurance and utility bills. Failing to pay your rent hurts our ability to meet those obligations, as well as our ability to operate and maintain the property where you live. Ultimately it may also hurt your credit or result in an eviction once that process is reinstated.
I am a renter and need assistance paying my bills. Where can i go for help?
If you need rental payment assistance, there are several groups and agencies that can help. Many churches and other community non-profits also offer emergency financial assistance. There may also be assistance to help with other needs, such as utility or medical bills.
If you are unable to pay your utility bills during this time of crisis, what should you do?
Most North Carolina utilities have suspended disconnects and are waiving late fees during the COVID-19 crisis. Please check directly with your provider(s) on what options they offer during this time. Remember that even if disconnection is suspended, your bills will continue to accrue.
What if I live at a public housing authority property, affordable housing property, or use Housing Choice Vouchers (Section 8)?
Both public housing and Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8) residents who experience a loss or reduction of wages should contact their housing authority to see what can be done to provide assistance.
What should I do if I have to self-isolate in my apartment?
• To avoid unnecessary contact, or maintenance staff entering your unit, notify the management that you are undergoing self-isolation or quarantine.
• Avoid close contact with other people and pets.
• Maintain respiratory hygiene (use tissues, cover your mouth when sneezing or coughing).
• Keep your apartment clean and organized to maintain a healthy environment. Clean regularly and sanitize often using items like Lysol spray and Clorox wipes on "high touch" surfaces including countertops, tabletops, doorknobs, nightstands, bathroom fixtures, toilets, refrigerator handles, kitchen faucets, light switches, TV remotes, cell phones, computer keyboards and tablets.
• Do not leave your unit unless it's an emergency. Do not use common areas.
• Postpone non-essential maintenance requests.
What if I have to move/apartment hunt during the pandemic?
• Practice basic prevention-Take the usual precautionary measures, including not shaking hands, washing your hands after your visit is concluded, not touching your face and not touching surfaces, especially in common areas. Use hand sanitizer.
• Consider virtual tours
• Inquire about safety measures in place-Apartment communities are incorporating additional measures during this outbreak, such as deep-cleaning and disinfecting high-traffic surfaces. They may have closed or limited access to common rooms, gyms and laundry rooms. They may be stationing hand-sanitizer around the building. Finally, inquire how the unit you plan to rent was sanitized.
• Vet your moving/van rental company - Before scheduling your move, inquire what sanitation procedures your moving company has in place. Ask for movers to wear gloves to avoid contaminating your belongings. Alternately, consider moving your belongings yourself to minimize exposure, but make sure to enquire about sanitation procedures your moving van rental company has in place.
Additional FAQ from the NC Justice Center
Need help safely finding a new apartment? Check our directory for supplier partners who can help you find housing options that meet your needs.
resident service and access to amenities
During this crisis, rental communities are following CDC recommendations to practice social distancing and take measures to limit spread of the virus. As a result, rental properties may:
• Close select or all amenities
• Ask you to pay rent online
• Close office to non-employees
• Limit repairs to emergency situations only
We realize that these actions may be inconvenient but are intended to help protect you, your neighbors and people who work at the property.
Communal behaviors to limit the contamination spread
• Wash your hands often, avoid touching your face and practice respiratory hygiene
• Avoid close contact with people who are sick
• Clean and disinfect your apartment to maintain a healthy environment
• Limit contamination of common amenities, such as the communal gym, movie room, or a playground, by using disinfecting wipes before and after you use the equipment. Avoid using common areas and amenities if you are sick.
• Limit visitors-Practice social distancing by limiting visitors to your unit or inviting friends/family to share common areas with you.
help & support
Fannie Mae Renters Resource Finder
If you’re a renter facing financial challenges as a result of COVID-19, a natural disaster, or other difficulties, we’re here to help. Use the Renters Resource Finder to learn what kinds of support may be available, including:
- Access to personal assistance from HUD-approved housing counselors
- Information on Federal and state housing assistance and other programs
- Tips on communicating with your landlord, and more
If the Renters Resource Finder confirms that Fannie Mae financed the apartment complex where you live, you may also be eligible for COVID-19-related tenant protections. Please reach out to your landlord or property manager to determine if these protections are applicable to you. If your landlord or property owner has received payment relief on the financing Fannie Mae provided (this is known as forbearance), these protections could include:
- Protection from eviction solely for failure to pay your rent
- At least a 30-day notice to vacate your rental unit
- A suspension of late fees or penalties for nonpayment of rent
- Flexibility to repay back-rent over time, and not in a lump sum
To better understand protections and assistance that may be available to you—whether or not Fannie Mae financed the apartment complex where you live—please visit the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Protections for Renters page.
To use the Renters Resource Finder, enter the main address of your apartment or rental complex—usually the leasing office address. If you don’t know the main address of your rental complex, try entering the address of your rental unit.
Disaster Response Network
For renters experiencing financial challenges from COVID-19, a natural disaster, or other difficulties, the Disaster Response Network’s HUD-approved housing counselors may be able to help with:
• A personalized recovery assessment and action plan.
• FEMA and insurance claims.
• Federal and state housing assistance.
• Unemployment, nutritional assistance, and any other available benefits.
• Non-legal support in communicating with landlords.
• Ongoing check-ins to help ensure a successful recovery.
Call 877-542-9723 to speak with a housing counselor at our Disaster Response Network
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) has partnered with the North Carolina Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) network to launch a hotline to provide child care options for children of critical workers who do not have access to typical care because of COVID-19 closures.
Families who have flexible working arrangements are encouraged to stay at home with their children. Workers who need care may call 1-888-600-1685 to receive information about local options for children from infants through age 12. The hotline is open Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest NC: Need Help - Find Help - Give Help.
Resources for families and children and location information for free meals for children.
Greensboro Urban Ministry:
Grocery assistance: Available once a month on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays 9:30am-3:30pm
Utility assistance: walkins Mondays and Wednesdays 8:30am-3:30pm
NEW: North Carolina households receiving Food and Nutrition Services benefits will continue to receive the maximum amount for their household size for the month of February 2022, NCDHHS today announced. FNS recipients have been receiving the maximum allotment, though they may qualify for less, since March 2020 to help families access food during the COVID-19 pandemic and compensate for financial and economic hardships resulting from the pandemic and widespread business and industry closures.
NCDHHS is encouraging North Carolinians who are enrolled in the federal Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) to use their food benefits during COVID-19 to support good nutrition for their families. All WIC participants are getting monthly food benefits automatically added to their eWIC account because of the pandemic.
NCDHHS has received approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to continue the Student Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer (P-EBT) food assistance program for eligible K-12 students through the 2021-22 school year under new rules. North Carolina is still awaiting federal approval for Child Care P-EBT (previously called “Children Under 6”) and cannot issue benefits to this group until USDA approval is received.
Eligibility for the program has changed. More information on eligibility and benefits can be found by visiting the P-EBT website. North Carolina plans to start issuing benefits to eligible students by the end of January 2022 and will announce when issuances begin.
NCDHHS announced on 11/30/2022 that the State of North Carolina has been awarded more than $38 million in federal funding to establish a new water assistance program for households affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Beginning December 1, 2022, eligible households that have had their water services cut off or have received notice that their water services are in danger of being cut off can apply for assistance in paying their bill through a new federal program called the Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP).
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Optum has a toll-free 24-hour Emotional Support Help Line at 866-342-6892 for people who may be experiencing anxiety or stress around COVID-19.
The National Disaster Distress Helpline at 1-800-985-5990 offers crisis counseling and emotional support 24 hours a day for anyone experiencing distress or other mental health concerns during the COVID-19 outbreak.
People who have confirmed COVID-19 and are in isolation, and people who may have been exposed to COVID-19 and are self-monitoring, are doing the right thing and helping to protect their communities. They should never be harassed and bullied, including through social media. We should offer compassion, support via phone and texts, and assistance as appropriate, but never hostility or judgment.