Coronavirus Resources for Low Income Households
Last updated on May 25th, 2020
On March 27th, 2020 President Trump signed into law the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, commonly referred to as the CARES Act. The bipartisan legislation passed 96-0 in the Senate on March 25th and was passed by the House of Representatives by voice vote shortly before being signed by the President.
The CARES Act is the third piece of legislation enacted by the federal government in response to the coronavirus pandemic and includes provisions that directly affect American households. Most popular is the authorization of direct payments to Americans to help cover household costs and boost the struggling economy. Advocates hope a sweeping expansion of unemployment insurance is enough to help working families in an economy that saw over 3 million new unemployment claims in the days leading up to the passage of this legislation.
Affordable Housing Online will continue monitoring the state's and federal government's response to the COVID-19 outbreak and maintain a list of resources to help low income households navigate critical services during this unprecedented time.
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 Coverage on Affordable Housing Online
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 the same problems finding housing as anyone else leaving the criminal justice system. However, they can also face discrimination because landlords fear exposure to the coronavirus.
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 surpass the recent CARES Act as the largest aid package in U.S. history.
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? Most fair housing experts agree the Fair Housing Act says they cannot.
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 there’s a lot of uncertainty when looking into the future.
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 still be on the hook for months of unpaid rent, and could still lose their homes.
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 gave CDBG a $5 billion increase in its most recent coronavirus stimulus package.
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.
The Senate passed a historic $2.2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package on a vote of 96-0. It will benefit low-income renters in several ways. It will provide direct financial assistance to people, expand and increase unemployment insurance, halt evictions in federally-backed rental housing and foreclosures on federally-insured mortgages.
Local and state governments around the country are suspending eviction and foreclosure actions, giving a break to low-income renters hurt during the coronavirus crisis. President Trump has also directed HUD to suspend evictions and foreclosures for a short time. But not all renters are protected.
As state governments begin to order the closure of non-essential businesses and services, low income households are concerned about access to critical housing information and services. Affordable Housing Online investigates how the largest Public Housing Agencies are communicating with the low-income families and communities they serve.
FTC warns about government check scams (March 19, 2020)
As the United States Congress appears ready to pass the largest economic stimulus package in American history many households are anticipating a direct payment from the government to help cover the cost of living. Affordable Housing Online covers the FTC's warning that scammers may already be trying to take advantage of those in need.
HUD Secretary Ben Carson was recently appointed to the White House Coronavirus Task Force. The Task Force is charged with leading the federal response to the coronavirus outbreak. Affordable Housing Online reported on Secretary Carson's new responsibilities and actions as part of the task force.
Important Updates on Stimulus Payments For Low Income Households
Under Section 2201 of the CARES Act, the federal government will be issuing a stimulus payment to individuals in the form of a one-time tax rebate.The payment will be based on 2018 tax returns or, for those who have already filed, 2019 tax returns. The amount will be determined by your filing status and your adjusted gross income. Those claimed as dependents of another tax-payer are not eligible for the direct payment.
Notice for Low Income Households and those receiving Social Security or Disability Benefits
Previously, the Treasury Department stated that those receiving Social Security or railroad retirement benefits would have to file a simple tax return for this payment, but this requirement was waived on April 1st. “Social Security recipients who are not typically required to file a tax return do not need to take an action, and will receive their payment directly to their bank account,” Secretary Mnuchin stated in a press release.
However, those who do not receive social security or railroad retirement benefits may still be required to complete a simple return to receive a direct deposit if they do not typically file taxes.
April 15th, 2020 Update
As of April 15th, 2020, the IRS Has published a method for Non-Filers to provide the information required for the Economic Impact Payment. If the IRS does not have your direct deposit information, you can submit it through the official online portal here. Note: This is the only valid website where you can submit this information. If any other web page claims it can be used for this purpose, it is fraudulent.
When will I receive the Stimulus Payment?
Comments from Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin suggest the first direct deposit payments will be made by April 17th. Based on the information published by the IRS, the order in which individuals will receive their one-time payment may be as follows:
- People who have filed taxes in 2019 or in 2018 and have elected for direct deposit will likely receive their payment first by April 17th.
- First time filers who provide direct deposit information to the IRS through the web tool will likely receive their payments in the weeks following April 17th based on the date information was provided.
- Those who have already filed their taxes but elected a return method other then direct deposit may also use the web tool to request a direct deposit of this stimulus payment and likewise receive their payment in the weeks following April 17th based on the date information was provided.
- The IRS has not published a time frame for those receiving paper checks for those who have not been able to provide direct deposit information. However, an IRS spokesperson told the Washington Post that the plan is to begin distributing paper checks to the lowest earners on April 24th, starting with those earning less than $10,000.
CARES Act Cash Payment Amounts
- Those who filed their latest tax return as single with income less than $75,000 are eligible for a one-time payment of $1,200.
- Those who filed their latest tax return as a head of household with income less than $112,500 are eligible for a one-time payment of $1,200 plus an additional $500 per dependent child.
- Those who jointly filed their latest tax returns as married with income less than $150,000 are eligible for a one-time payment of $1,200 plus an additional $500 per dependent child.
CARES Act Cash Payment Income Limits
For those who earn above the threshold for their filing status, payments will decrease as earned income increases. The payment amount decreases by $5 for every $100 in income above the threshold.
- Those who filed their latest tax return as single with income greater than $99,000 are not eligible for the payment.
- Those who filed their latest tax return as a head of household with income greater than $136,500 are not eligible for the payment.
- Those who jointly filed their latest tax returns as married with income greater than $198,000 are not eligible for the payment.
Unemployment Benefits Under the CARES Act
Title II, Subtitle A of the CARES Act includes an emergency expansion of unemployment benefits for those who lose work during the coronavirus outbreak.
Key provisions of the title include a $600 weekly increase in payments, less strict unemployment eligibility requirements, and a 13-week extension of unemployment benefits beyond the period determined by the states.
If You Qualify for Unemployment Benefits Under State Law
- Under Section 2104 of the act, those who are currently eligible for unemployment benefits will receive an additional $600 per week with their regular unemployment payment through July, 2020.
- Section 2105 allows states who have suspended the standard one-week waiting period for assistance to receive funding to cover the cost of the first week of benefits.
- Section 2107 grants up to 13 weeks of additional benefits for those who remain unemployed beyond the expiration of their state employment benefits. The extended benefit will compensate those who qualify $600 per week.
If You are Ineligible for Unemployment Benefits Under State Law
- Under section 2102 of the CARES Act, those who are normally ineligible for employment benefits, but have lost work due to certain COVID-19 related circumstances, may be covered by The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program.
- There is no waiting period or work-seeking requirement tied to the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program. Unlike most state laws, those who are self employed, seeking part time employment, or who lack sufficient work history for state benefits are eligible for assistance.
- Independent contractors for on-demand services such as rideshare drivers and delivery app workers are eligible for unemployment benefits under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program.
- Those receiving benefits through the CARES Act will be able to make claims retroactively from January 27th, 2020 and receive benefits for up to a maximum of 39 weeks through December 31st, 2020.
- The weekly benefit under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance will equal 100% of your regular weekly compensation or $600, whichever is greater.
You may qualify for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program if the reason you are out of work is any of the following:
- You have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and are seeking a medical diagnosis;
- A member of your household has been diagnosed with COVID-19;
- You are providing care for a family member or household member who has been diagnosed with COVID-19;
- You are the primary caregiver for a child or other person in the household who is unable to attend school or another facility that has been closed as a direct result of COVID-19 and such school or facility care is required for you to work;
- You are unable to reach your place of employment because of a quarantine imposed as a direct result of COVID-19;You are unable to reach your place of employment because a health care provider has advised you to self-quarantine due to COVID-19 concerns;
- You were scheduled to begin employment and do not have a job or are unable to reach the job as a direct result of COVID-19;
- You have become the primary support for a household because the head of household has died as a direct result of COVID-19;
- You have been forced to quit a job as a direct result of COVID-19;Your place of employment is closed as a direct result of COVID-19.
You do not qualify for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program if any of the following applies:
- You are able to telecommute with pay;
- You are receiving paid sick leave or other paid leave benefits;
For more information on how changes in unemployment benefits may affect you, visit your state's Department of Labor website. You can find a link below in the Resources and Services By State table under the Unemployment Resource label.
Coronavirus Eviction Policies By State
The table below lists state and local eviction policy changes beyond changes made for federally funded housing. For a list of federal housing programs with eviction halts or policy changes, view our FAQ Can I be evicted if I can't pay rent because of coronavirus?
Understanding the Table Below
An entry of "-" in any field indicates that information is unknown or not applicable.
An entry of "Statewide", "District-wide", or "Territory-wide" indicates that the policy is in effect across all jurisdictions within the State, District, or Territory. In some cases, a local policy may provide additional protections from eviction than the state level policy.
The "Effective Through" field is accurate per the best available source, though as state and local governments adjust their responses to this crisis these dates may change.
"Evictions Suspended?" Value Dictionary:
- Yes - The state or locality has suspended evictions through the provided date.
- Yes, With Limitations - The state or locality has suspended some evictions through the provided date. Those limitations will be presented in the Notes column where available.
- No - Based on best available resources, eviction proceedings are ongoing in this state.
Because the response to the crisis is in motion, we encourage you to follow up with the source included in the table for up to date details. Additionally, the Court System Website link in the state resource table below may have important details for those seeking urgent information.
|State||Locality||Evictions Suspended?||Effective Through||Notes||Source|
|Alabama||Statewide||Yes, with Limitations||4/17/2020||Court Hearings suspended, electronic filings still available||Source|
|American Samoa||Territory-wide||None Found||-||-||Source|
|Arizona||Statewide||Yes, with Limitations||7/22/2020||Arizona's Governor issued an executive order that only applies to renters who are quarantining due to the Coronavirus or are facing economic hardship as a result of the outbreak||Source|
|California||San Francisco, California||Yes||4/20/2020||-||Source|
|Colorado||Statewide||Yes||4/30/2020||Also suspended disconnection of Public Utiltiies||Source|
|Colorado||Denver, Colorado||Yes||Until further notice||-||Source|
|District of Columbia||District-wide||Yes||5/31/2020||-||Source|
|Florida||Statewide||Yes||4/17/2020||Court Hearings suspended||Source|
|Florida||Miami-Dade County, Florida||Yes||Until further notice||-||Source|
|Idaho||Statewide||Yes, with Limitations||Until further notice||Court Hearings suspended at the discretion of the presiding judge, Blaine County hearings have been suspended||Source|
|Idaho||Boise, Idaho||Yes, with Limitations||Until further notice||City owned properties have suspended or blocked evictions||Source|
|Indiana||Statewide||Yes||Until further notice||-||Source|
|Louisiana||Statewide||Yes||Until further notice||Also suspended water shut-offs||Source|
|Louisiana||New Orleans, Louisiana||Yes||4/30/2020||-||Source|
|Maryland||Statewide||Yes||Until further notice||-||Source|
|Maryland||Baltimore , Maryland||Yes||4/24/2020||-||Source|
|Michigan||Statewide||Yes||Until further notice||-||Source|
|Minnesota||Statewide||Yes||Until further notice||-||Source|
|Mississippi||Biloxi, Mississippi||Yes||4/10/2020||Biloxi Municipal Court postponed in-court appearances through April 10||Source|
|Missouri||St. Louis, Missouri||Yes||Until further notice||Also suspended disconnection of water through May 15, 2020||Source|
|Montana||Statewide||None Found||-||None, other than HUD-owned properties||Source|
|Nevada||Statewide||Yes||Until further notice||Governor also stated landlords must waive late fees during this same period||Source|
|Nevada||Las Vegas, Nevada||Yes||4/17/2020||-||Source|
|New Hampshire||Statewide||Yes||Until further notice||-||Source|
|New Jersey||Newark, New Jersey||Yes||Until further notice||-||Source|
|New Mexico||Statewide||Yes||Until further notice||-||Source|
|North Dakota||Statewide||Yes||Until further notice||-||Source|
|Northern Mariana Islands||Territory-wide||None Found||-||-||Source|
|Ohio||Statewide||None Found||-||State Government H.B. 562 introduced on 3/23 but not voted on yet, suspended disconnection of water through May 15, 2020||Source|
|Ohio||Cleveland, Ohio||Yes||4/17/2020||Cleveland Housing Court suspended all non-emergency proceedings including evictions until 4/17/2020||Source|
|Oklahoma||Oklahoma City, Oklahoma||Yes||Unconfirmed||-||Source|
|Puerto Rico||Territory-wide||None Found||-||As of 3/23/2020 there is a 90 day moratorium for mortgages, car loans and personal loans.||Source|
|South Dakota||Statewide||None Found||-||-||Source|
|Tennessee||Nashville, Tennessee||Yes||Until further notice||-||Source|
|Utah||Statewide||Yes||Until further notice||-||Source|
|Virgin Islands||Territory-wide||None Found||-||-||Source|
|Washington||Seattle, Washington||Yes||Until further notice||King County Sheriff's Office not enforcing court-ordered evictions until further notice||Source|
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 page for each state:
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
- 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 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)
Responding to COVID-19
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?
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.