Coronavirus Resources for Low Income Households
Last updated on February 25th, 2021
Affordable Housing Online is monitoring the state's and federal government's response to the COVID-19 outbreak, and maintaining a list of resources to help low income households navigate critical services during this unprecedented time.
Current Events for Low-Income Renters
As the coronavirus pandemic continues, many federal policies have been created, updated, or proposed to help those affected by the virus. This is a collection of the most important news items that are still relevant today.
January 26, 2021 - Emergency Rental Assistance Program Allocations by State
January 20, 2021 - Eviction Moratorium Extension
January 14, 2021 - Biden's American Rescue Plan
December 27, 2020 - Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021
Waiting List Updates
Affordable Housing Online will continue to cover the latest information on open, postponed, or cancelled Section 8 and Public Housing waiting lists.
Most Public Housing Agencies across the nation are closing their doors to the public but are still running and will communicate by phone, email, or mail. Some offices have drop boxes installed outside, so documents can still be hand-delivered. We encourage those with specific questions for housing authorities to visit the agency's website for the latest on its current operations, if one is available. If there is no information online, contact the housing authority directly. However, due to a high volume of calls and modified office hours in most areas, expect a long wait time (days or weeks) for a response.
We have published a Public Housing Agency directory for each state to help low-income renters find agency websites, contact information, and the latest waiting list updates.
Coronavirus Eviction Policies By State
Can I be evicted if I can't pay rent because of coronavirus?
In September, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) took action to temporarily halt evictions for most Americans due to the coronavirus pandemic. February, 2021 Update: President Biden issued an executive order, which extends the CDC eviction ban until March 31, 2021. Until then, there is a national moratorium on evictions nationwide for struggling renters. This means that qualified renters would be protected from getting evicted until the moratorium is lifted.
Renters and homeowners must meet the following criteria to be protected by the eviction moratorium:
- Must earn less than $99,000, or have received a coronavirus stimulus check.
- Must certify that they have lost a “substantial” amount of income due to the coronavirus pandemic.
- Must make their “best efforts” to pay as much of their rent as they can, and pay it as close to when it is due as they can.
- Must certify that eviction will likely lead them to homelessness or doubling up with others.
State and Local Eviction Policies
The table provided by The Eviction Lab lists state and local eviction policies that have been made to help renters, in addition to federal action.
COVID-19 Rental Assistance Programs By State
To help renters who are struggling to pay rent during the coronavirus pandemic, several cities, counties, and states have created emergency rental assistance programs for their residents with CARES Act funds. The application period for some local programs has already closed, but many are currently open as of February, 2021.
Find information about local rental assistance programs in your area here. (Source: National Low Income Housing Coalition)
Coronavirus Scams and How to Avoid Them
Since coronavirus hit the country, scammers and hackers have ramped up their volume of tricks and cons. It’s important to be aware of scams going on right now, to make sure you don’t become a victim.
Affordable Housing Online Coronavirus Coverage
How have we improved homeless services during the pandemic? - February 23, 2021
Keeping homeless clients safe and slowing the spread of COVID-19 has forced homeless shelter providers to make a lot of changes. Some of these new approaches have been...
How can state and local governments protect renters as the pandemic drags on? - February 16, 2021
A new document listing effective state and local strategies to protect tenants during the COVID-19 pandemic has a lot of information that can help low-income renters stay in their homes during these difficult times. The current...
Research shows eviction moratoria slow the spread of COVID-19 and save lives - February 10, 2021
New research shows that eviction moratoria and bans on utility cutoffs greatly slow the spread of COVID-19. These protections for low-income renters have...
Research shows millions protected from eviction in 2020, but back rent grows - February 2, 2021
New research from Princeton’s Eviction Lab shows that protections enacted during the coronavirus pandemic have prevented at least 1.6 million eviction filings nationwide. Although eviction filings are rising going into 2021, eviction rates are...
What will President Biden do about affordable housing in his first 100 days? - January 22, 2021
Joe Biden is now president of the United States, and will have a narrow Democratic majority backing him up in the House and Senate. He faces many challenges and...
Now that emergency rental assistance has passed, where will it go? - January 15, 2021
Congress included $25 billion for emergency rental assistance in the latest coronavirus stimulus package; but where is the emergency rental assistance going, and how will it be distributed?
Trump signs FY21 spending bill and pandemic relief package - December 29, 2020
President Trump signed the coronavirus relief package and Fiscal Year 2021 spending bills into law this weekend. Trump’s delay in signing not only...
Congress reaches stimulus deal with rental assistance and eviction protection - December 23, 2020
Congress has passed a coronavirus stimulus package that will provide relief to millions of low-income renters. The $900 billion stimulus legislation is attached to a $1.4 trillion FY 2021 spending bill that will...
Biden announces notable nominations for HUD, USDA departments - December 17, 2020
President-elect Biden has made a historic selection to lead the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), while sticking with a familiar face to head the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Millions of renters will lose unemployment benefits as eviction crisis looms - December 14, 2020
Millions of workers will lose CARES Act unemployment benefits on December 26, unless Congress passes another pandemic stimulus package. Without help, these workers risk joining the millions of low-income renters who have have built up months worth of back rent.
Small landlords facing big challenges during the pandemic - December 4, 2020
The coronavirus pandemic has certainly hurt low-income renters, who struggle even in the best of times. Lost wages and jobs, the fear of eviction, and the ongoing threat of COVID-19 exposure have made life even harder for renters. But with many tenants not able to pay the rent, landlords are...
Call your senators on Thursday to demand pandemic housing assistance - November 17, 2020
Join housing supporters across the country for “National Call-In Day” on Thursday, November 19th to demand that your representative and senators pass a coronavirus relief bill with critical housing assistance and protections.
HUD Secretary Ben Carson has tested positive for coronavirus - November 10, 2020
Dr. Ben Carson, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), tested positive for coronavirus on Monday. Confirmed first to ABC News by his Deputy Chief of Staff Coalter Baker, Carson was tested at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center after experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.
Despite a national eviction moratorium ordered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to protect low-income renters during the coronavirus pandemic, evictions for nonpayment of rent have continued around the country. Evictions in some areas are...
Trump administration favors landlords in guidance on eviction moratorium - October 22, 2020
The Trump administration has undercut COVID-19 eviction protections provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), by releasing guidance that heavily favors landlords. This change will give landlords...
Eviction filings surged in August and September, during the short time there was no federal eviction moratorium in place. And corporate eviction filings even continued after the current eviction moratorium was ordered by the CDC. This gives us...
House keeps housing assistance a priority for coronavirus relief - October 2, 2020
House Democrats introduced a compromise $2.2 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill this week. With Congress set to break for recess before the national election, bill sponsors hope it will...
Millions still need to claim their coronavirus stimulus checks - September 28, 2020
There are millions of people who have not yet received their CARES Act stimulus check, and time is running out to claim this assistance before the October 15 deadline.
The pandemic is making it harder for survivors of domestic violence - September 24, 2020
In the best of times, survivors of domestic violence face a lot of challenges finding safe shelter. The coronavirus pandemic has made things much worse. Stay at home orders keep survivors closed up with their abusers. Shelters have to reduce capacity or close because of social distancing rules. However, crisis hotlines and shelter operators are...
Congress deadlocked on more coronavirus relief - September 21, 2020
Negotiations between congressional leaders and the White House over a new coronavirus stimulus package are at a standstill. Congress will....
CDC orders national eviction moratorium until end of year - September 3, 2020
The Trump administration acted on Tuesday to temporarily halt evictions for most Americans due to the coronavirus pandemic. This move will provide critical protection for millions of low-income renters and homeowners on the brink of losing their homes. Without emergency rental assistance, though, the order only...
Carson approves flexibility for CDBG CARES Act Funds - August 19, 2020
New flexibility of CARES Act funding being used by HUD has been approved by Secretary Ben Carson, as announced by a HUD press release last Friday. These are Community Development Block Grant (CDBG-CV) funds, which are...
Trump executive orders will not help workers or stop evictions - August 18, 2020
President Trump issued executive orders last weekend that he promised would help jobless workers. He made this move, he said, because of the stalemate in Congress over the next coronavirus stimulus package. But these orders are just...
The U.S. Census Bureau will cut short the time for the 2020 Census count by a month, which will leave millions of people uncounted; most of those being low-income, minority, and immigrant households. This cynical move by the Trump administration will...
Trump fans race and class tensions as HUD guts key fair housing rule - August 5, 2020
The Trump administration abruptly terminated a key fair housing regulation last week that required states and cities to reduce historic patterns of housing segregation. This rule change will...
A new report shows that even before the coronavirus pandemic there is no place in the country where a full-time minimum wage worker can afford a modest apartment. With millions already paying more than half of what they earn for rent, the Out of Reach 2020 annual report by the National Low-Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) shows that...
HUD announced this month that it will propose a rule change that allows local shelter providers to discriminate against homeless transgender persons. If the rule is implemented, transgender persons who are homeless could be...
A housing bill passed in June by the House of Representative is one of several moves to pressure Senate Republicans into supporting major housing provisions in the next coronavirus stimulus package.
Experts fear for eviction crisis during coronavirus pandemic - July 2, 2020
July rent is due for millions of American renters, but many are still unable to pay as the coronavirus pandemic rages on. As states lift eviction moratoria, many fear a wave of evictions is soon to come.
American renters want housing assistance during the pandemic - June 16, 2020
Low-income renters across the country are at risk of losing their homes because of the coronavirus pandemic. A new poll shows that more than half of all people worry that...
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) addressed affordable housing advocates and low-income renters this week in a webinar hosted by the National Low-Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC). During the call, Pelosi laid out the emergency housing measures recently passed by the House, and...
A recent HUD report shows that even though HUD programs reach a fraction of those who qualify, tenants in HUD-assisted housing are among the poorest and most vulnerable in our nation. HUD’s report, Characteristics of HUD-Assisted Renters and Their Units in 2017, is the tenth report in this series since 1989, and allows HUD to...
Prisons and jails around the country have become COVID-19 hot spots. In an effort to decompress correctional facilities, many state and local governments are allowing early release of some inmates. Those being released face...
HEROES Act would give a lot of support to low-income renters - May 15, 2020
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) unveiled the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act this week. This is the House’s latest aid package to help people and businesses hurt by the coronavirus pandemic. At $3 trillion, it would...
Low-income renters face all kinds of roadblocks to finding affordable housing. For many, discrimination has historically been an obstacle to getting and keeping a decent place to live. With fears growing as the coronavirus pandemic spreads, can landlords evict tenants or deny applicants because they might be at risk for COVID-19?
Democratic lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives are pushing legislation that will ban evictions and suspend rent payments for all renters nationwide during the COVID-19 pandemic. Millions of renters are not covered by a patchwork of local, state and federal eviction moratoria.
Homeless persons face the worst of the coronavirus pandemic - April 23, 2020
Many state and local governments are recognizing that if COVID-19 spreads among the homeless population, it would be a public health disaster. Cities nationwide are making efforts to help the homeless, but...
Some members of Congress are calling for a bold federal commitment to emergency rental assistance during the coronavirus pandemic. Although many states have temporarily suspended evictions, just protecting low-income renters during the crisis is not enough. When the eviction orders are eventually lifted, renters will...
A public infrastructure program that President Trump has tried to get rid of since he took office is showing its usefulness during the COVID-19 outbreak. Despite the president’s opposition to the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, Congress just...
Calls grow for rent forgiveness as governments order businesses to close - April 3rd, 2020
Congress has suspended evictions in federally assisted housing during the coronavirus pandemic. Many states have also halted all evictions during the crisis. But people can face thousands of dollars in back rent payments when eviction suspensions are lifted.
FTC warns about government check scams - March 19, 2020
Homeless and Emergency Housing Resources By State
For those who are homeless, or at risk of becoming homeless, HUD has a page for each state (including Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands) with information for local supportive services. These pages include website links to organizations that help with the following services:
- Help hotlines
- Contacting a housing counselor
- Emergency rental assistance
- Avoiding foreclosure
- Help with utility bills
- Food banks
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
- Homeless service groups
- Legal assistance
- Social Security offices
- Homeless Veterans
- United Way
- Jobs and job training
Here are the HUD Homeless Resource pages for each state:
COVID-19 Help and Guidance for Landlords
Landlords, property managers, and administrators of affordable housing properties have taken many precautions to help prevent the spread of coronavirus. This is a challenge for many housing providers, since many federally-assisted properties are comprised of several units within close proximity of each other.
Here are the steps that landlords, property managers, and housing administrators are taking to protect their single-family unit or apartments, following the guidelines of the CDC:
- Limit Office Availability
To limit or avoid public interaction, many offices run by affordable housing providers have limited the hours they are open to the public, or have outright closed their offices to public visitors. Offices with limited hours sometimes require public visitors to schedule an appointment ahead of time, and will not allow walk-ins. Office visitors are expected to wear a mask, and follow social distancing guidelines. Offices that are closed to the public have drop boxes installed in the outside of the building, so residents and applicants can still submit paperwork by hand. All offices have continued to be available for communication by phone, email, mail, etc. There are also some offices that have all or some staff working remotely.
- Limit Use of Common Areas
Following social distancing guidelines, common areas may be closed to the public, or have limited hours/occupancy. If common areas are being used, follow CDC cleaning procedures (Step 4).
- Stay in Communication
To help residents prevent the spread of coronavirus, affordable housing offices have maintained transparency about best practices to stay safe, and company policies that have been updated or created because of COVID-19. These notices may be in the form of an email, website update, text message, flyer, letter, etc.
- Clean and Disinfect Public Areas
If coronavirus contamination is suspected or confirmed, the CDC has written cleaning tips for public areas. Tips include:
• How to clean and disinfect hard and soft surfaces, electronics, and linens
• Recommendations for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and Hand Hygiene
• Additional Considerations for Employers
- Clean and Disinfect Living Areas
Housing providers and residents can follow these CDC tips on how to clean and disinfect homes. Tips include:
• Soft surfaces
• Clean hands often
• HVAC, ventilation, and filtration
• When someone is sick
- Protect Yourself and Others
Help personally limit the spread of COVID-19 by following these standard CDC recommendations. Tips include:
• Wash your hands often
• Avoid close contact
• Cover your mouth and nose with a mask when around others
• Cover coughs and sneezes
• Clean and disinfect
• Monitor your health daily
Links to U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Resources
USDA Rural Housing Resources
Links to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Coronavirus Resources
- COVID-19 Federal Rural Resource Guide
- Immediate Actions Factsheet
- This document can be found on the top right of the page, in a blue box. It is available as a Word Document, and PDF, and the file will be downloaded to your computer once the link is selected.
Immediate Opportunities for RD Customers Impacted by COVID-19
- COVID-19 Fact Sheets
- Business & Industry CARES Act Program English | Español
- Rural Business Development Grant COVID-19 Fact Sheet English | Español
- Rural Energy for America Program COVID-19 Fact Sheet English | Español
- Single-Family Housing Direct Loan COVID-19 Fact Sheet English | Español
- Community Facilities Direct Loan & Grant COVID-19 Fact Sheet English | Español
- Community Facilities Direct Loan & Grant Loan Deferral COVID-19 Fact Sheet English | Español
- Single-Family Housing Guaranteed Loan COVID-19 Fact Sheet English | Español
- Multi-Family Housing Direct Loan COVID-19 Fact Sheet English | Español
- Distance Learning and Telemedicine COVID-19 Fact Sheet English | Español
- Water and Environmental Programs COVID-19 Fact Sheet English | Español
- Interagency Housing Forbearance COVID-19 Fact Sheet - Borrowers PDF
- Interagency Housing Forbearance COVID-19 Fact Sheet - Lenders PDF
- Telehealth Service Changes COVID-19 Fact Sheet English
- We Care Letter
- Rural Development*
- Rural Housing Service*
- Rural Utilities Service*
- Rural Business-Cooperative Service*
- New and Extended Application Deadlines*
*The information on these subjects can be found here. Scroll down to the "Immediate Opportunities for RD Customers Impacted by COVID-19" section, and select the + icon for a each subject.
Frequently Asked Questions
Scroll down to the "Frequently Asked Questions" section here, and select the + icon for each subject.
- USDA Extends Foreclosure and Eviction Relief on Single Family Housing Direct Loans (June 23, 2020)
- USDA Extends Foreclosure and Eviction Relief on Single Family Housing Guaranteed Loans (June 19, 2020)
- USDA to Provide $1 Billion in Loan Guarantees for Rural Businesses and Ag Producers (May 22, 2020)
- USDA Outlines Telehealth Service Changes as a Result of the COVID-19 Pandemic (May 4, 2020)
- USDA Leadership from Farm Production And Conservation and Rural Development Update Stakeholders On Accessing SBA Relief Programs (April 28, 2020)
- USDA Offers Temporary Payment Deferrals for the Community Facilities Direct Loan Program (April 17, 2020)
- USDA Opens Second Application Window for Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant Program Funding (April 14, 2020)
- Temporary Exceptions to Payment Deferrals for Agency Guaranteed Loan Programs (April 8, 2020)
- Payment Deferrals for Agency Guaranteed Loan Programs (March 31, 2020)
- Temporary exceptions pertaining to appraisals, repair inspections and income verification for the Single-Family Housing Guaranteed Loan Program (SFHGLP) (March 30, 2020)
- USDA Rural Utilities Service (RUS) (March 20, 2020)
- USDA Rural Business-Cooperative Service (March 20, 2020)
- Single-Family Housing Direct Loan & Grant Programs (March 20, 2020)
Resources and Services By State
Coronavirus Household Concerns and FAQs
Can I be evicted if I can't pay rent because of coronavirus?
Are housing authorities still open during the coronavirus outbreak?
Do I have to do anything if I’m on a rental subsidy program and become unemployed or lose hours from coronavirus?
What is the government stimulus payment?
Who qualifies for the government stimulus payment?
How much will I get from the government stimulus payment?
How do I get the government stimulus payment?
When will I get the government stimulus payment?
Are housing authority voucher ports still happening during the coronavirus outbreak?
Are housing authority inspections still happening while the coronavirus crisis continues?
Are Section 8 vouchers being issued by housing authorities in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic?
Will I have to pay back the government stimulus payment that I get?
If I rent with a Section 8 voucher and someone in my home or building tests positive for coronavirus, can I live somewhere else?
If I owe money to the government, will my government stimulus payment be taken to pay that debt?
How do I give my direct deposit information to get my government stimulus check?
If I don't pay my rent during a pandemic eviction moratorium, will I owe the rent when the coronavirus pandemic is over?
How can I track when my government stimulus payment is coming?
I get direct deposit Social Security payments, when will I get my government stimulus payment?
Are there protections if I can’t pay utilities during the coronavirus outbreak?
What is Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)?
Who qualifies for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance?
How much money will I get from Pandemic Unemployment Assistance?
How do I apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance?
What is Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC)?
What is Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC)?
Are Section 8 tenants required to report their income from the government stimulus check?
Do unemployment benefits affect Section 8 and Public Housing income requirements during coronavirus?
Are there coronavirus assistance programs for landlords?
Do I have to pay all of my back rent when the CDC moratorium ends?
Are there coronavirus rental assistance programs?
Will the eviction moratorium be extended in 2021?
My landlord is selling my apartment and is having people tour. Are there any protections for myself due to coronavirus fears?
CDC Recommendations to Protect You, Your Family, and Your Community
We encourage everyone to stay informed and follow the recommendations published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to prepare and protect yourself and your family:
1. Stay informed on local trends of COVID-19 cases and be wary of misinformation and rumors
It is critical to stay informed and be aware of false information and bad actors during this crisis. Misinformation and fraudulent services can be accidentally shared on social media by people with good intentions. Affordable Housing Online suggests using the following resources to stay informed and help control harmful rumors about COVD-19:
- CDC has published a COVID-19 Case tracker reporting on confirmed cases nationally and by state. This page is updated daily at noon Mondays through Fridays.
- FEMA has published a rumor control tool and the Office of Inspector General has a page dedicated to detecting and reporting fraud related to the outbreak.
- Frequently visit the CDC resource directory for the most up to date information. For those with slow or limited internet connections, Google has provided a cached version of this page.
- FTC has a Coronavirus Scams page that gives updates and warnings on scams related to COVID-19 that are currently being operated.
2. Know The Symptoms of Infection
The most common symptoms of coronavirus are fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Based on best available information, the CDC estimates these symptoms may start to appear 2 to 14 days after infection.
The CDC recommends seeking immediate medical attention for persons experiencing trouble breathing, persistent chest pain or pressure, confusion, or bluish lips or face.
3. Understand Who is at Higher Risk for Severe Complications
The CDC identifies the following groups as high risk for severe illness from COVID-19:
- People aged 65 years and older
- People who live in a nursing home or long-term care facility
- Persons with high-risk conditions including:
- Chronic lung disease
- Moderate to severe asthma
- Serious heart conditions
- Compromised immune system, including patients undergoing cancer treatment or treatments using immune weakening medications
- Severe obesity or uncontrolled conditions such as diabetes, renal failure, or liver disease
- People who are pregnant
4. Protect Yourself, Your Family, and Those at Higher Risk
Stay informed on the best practices to prevent illness and protect yourself and those around you. Until otherwise reported by the CDC, be wary of reports of a vaccine for COVID-19. The CDC plainly states, "There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)."
To protect yourself:
- Clean Your Hands Often: The CDC recommends cleaning your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not immediately accessible, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid Close Contact: Avoid contact with people who are sick, especially when COVID-19 is spreading in your community.
To protect others and those at high-risk:
- Stay Home Except to Get Medical Care: If you are sick, you risk the health and safety of others by going out.
- Cover Coughs and Sneezes: COVID-19 spreads from person to person through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Help prevent additional spread by covering your nose and mouth. Always wash your hands after coughing or sneezing.
- Wear a Facemask If You are Sick: People who are sick should wear a facemask when they are close to others, like when sharing a vehicle or a room. People who are not sick should not wear facemasks unless you are caring for a sick person. Facemasks are in short supply and are desperately needed by healthcare professionals and caregivers.
- Clean and Disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces: follow the CDC's guidance on how to properly disinfect to help prevent the spread of illness.