Coronavirus Resources for Low Income Households
Last updated on July 26th, 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.
HUD 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 many 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.
Can I be evicted if I can't pay rent because of coronavirus?
In September, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) took action to temporarily halt evictions for most Americans due to the coronavirus pandemic. June, 2021 Update: President Biden has extended the CDC eviction ban one last time until July 31, 2021. Until then, there is a national moratorium on evictions nationwide for struggling renters. This means that qualified renters are 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.
Emergency Rental Assistance Programs
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 May, 2021.
Find information about local rental assistance programs in your area here. (Source: National Low Income Housing Coalition)
Stimulus Payments For Taxpayers
As a result of the country’s economic downturn during the coronavirus outbreak, the U.S. government has issued stimulus checks to qualified taxpayers. Officially called Economic Impact Payments, three different payments have been made to qualified Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic.
More information about these payments can be found here:
- 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?
- How do I give my direct deposit information to get my government stimulus check?
- When will I get the government stimulus payment?
- Will I have to pay back the government stimulus payment that I get?
- 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?
In 2020, the CARES Act included an emergency expansion of Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits for those who lose work during the coronavirus outbreak. These benefits have been extended until September 6, 2021, after President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 into law.
Key services include a $300 increase in weekly payments, less strict unemployment eligibility requirements, and a 13-week extension of unemployment benefits beyond the period determined by the states.
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) is a temporary federal program that extends qualification of unemployment benefits for those who become fully or partially unemployed, or unable or unavailable to work due to COVID-19 on or after January 27, 2020; and are not eligible to receive or have already exhausted traditional unemployment compensation programs.
For more information:
- 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?
Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC)
Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) is a temporary federal program that gives an additional $300 per week in unemployment benefits to workers who became unemployed between the start date of their state's PUA agreement, and September 6, 2021.
Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC)
Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) provides 13 additional weeks of unemployment payments to workers who have already exhausted their regular Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits.
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.
COVID-19 Vaccine Webpages
American Samoa: No online COVID vaccine locations or appointment opportunities found
Guam: No online COVID vaccine locations or appointment opportunities found
Northern Mariana Islands: Northern Mariana Vaccine Appts.
Puerto Rico: Puerto Rico Vaccine Information
Virgin Islands: U.S. Virgin islands Vaccine Information
Some state and local governments are taking steps to keep low-income renters out of eviction courts as the national eviction moratorium nears its end.
The rising cost of lumber and other materials has slowed down housing production just as the nation is starting to reopen from the pandemic.
Reminder: The CDC eviction moratorium ends in two weeks - July 16, 2021
Although the order from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been extended several times, the eviction moratorium will expire on July 31 of this year.
Even if you don’t have a permanent address, you may still be eligible for the payments.
Supreme Court lets eviction moratorium stand - June 30, 2021
The Supreme Court on Tuesday let stand a national moratorium on evictions. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently extended the eviction moratorium through July 31, 2021
The national eviction moratorium that has protected millions of low-income renters during the pandemic has been extended through July 31 by the Biden administration, after it was set to expire at the end of this month.
An eviction intervention program in Arkansas is helping keep low-income renters from losing their homes.
While serving the most vulnerable people in our communities, some HUD Public Housing Agencies (PHAs) around the country have used the eviction process to push renters into paying back bills.
Last month, President Biden released a broad outline of his Fiscal Year 2022 budget. Last week, the president followed up with more details.
Biden proposes big boost for low-income workers and families - May 19, 2021
President Biden proposed a new $1.8 trillion investment plan last month that will help low-income families with accessible education, direct household support, and tax cuts.
The U.S. Treasury Department recently published revised guidance for states and cities on how to use the Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) funds that Congress approved last December.
Still waiting on your stimulus check? File your taxes - May 11, 2021
The easiest way to claim any of the Economic Impact Payments sent to Americans during the coronavirus pandemic is to file your 2020 federal taxes. The deadline to file your 2020 federal taxes was moved to May 17th this year, so you still have time.
This week, a federal judge struck down the national eviction moratorium ordered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) withdrew a proposed rule recently that would have allowed shelter operators to discriminate against homeless transgender persons.
Landlord screening practices can keep good tenants out - April 23, 2021
One of the big challenges low-income renters face when searching for new housing is the landlord screening process. A recent study breaks down which areas are important to landlords screening new tenants, and highlights the problems that disqualify good tenants.
Biden’s first budget proposes more money for affordable housing - April 20, 2021
President Biden’s Fiscal Year 2022 budget request proposes substantial increases for programs that serve low-income renters. After years of proposed cuts under the Trump administration, affordable housing programs are now getting support from the White House.
As the pandemic unfolded last spring, state and local governments had to scramble to help renters avoid eviction. State and local governments have used federal funding to create emergency rental assistance (ERA) programs, but many areas have been slow getting this assistance to low-income renters.
Affordable housing is a big focus of Biden’s infrastructure plan - April 8, 2021
President Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure plan — The American Jobs Plan — will rebuild the nation’s aging infrastructure. It will create millions of good paying jobs, support the shift to a clean energy economy, address longstanding racial equity issues, and invest heavily in affordable homes for low-income renters.
“Right to counsel” movement helping renters avoid eviction - April 1, 2021
There are few low-income renters who can afford lawyers when they go to eviction court, which puts them at a disadvantage. In these cases, landlords almost always win. A national movement supporting a right to civil counsel is pushing cities and states to make sure that low-income renters get a fair shake in eviction court.
Indiana law opens the door to more evictions - March 30, 2021
A law enacted recently in Indiana will make it easier for landlords to evict low-income renters. Being passed over the governor’s veto, this law will also prevent local governments from regulating landlord-tenant relations.
Now that Marcia Fudge has been sworn in as Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Affordable Housing Online team thought this would be a good time to offer suggestions to Secretary Fudge.
Biden’s American Rescue Plan is a lifeline for low-income renters - March 15, 2021
The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, a $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill signed by President Joe Biden last week, provides a range of benefits that will help lift millions out of poverty, especially children. From emergency rental assistance directly helping low-income renters stay safe in their homes, to education funding, the aid...
Before the pandemic, minority renters faced much greater housing challenges than their white counterparts. And with the economic crisis brought on by the pandemic; Black, Latino, and Native American renters have felt...
Low-income renters are still protected by the national eviction moratorium ordered by the CDC, even though a Texas judge made a ruling last week that the CDC order was unconstitutional. The decision only applies to...
Coronavirus Scams and How to Avoid Them - February 25, 2021
How have we improved homeless services during the pandemic? - February 23, 2021
How can state and local governments protect renters as the pandemic drags on? - February 16, 2021
Research shows eviction moratoria slow the spread of COVID-19 and save lives - February 10, 2021
Research shows millions protected from eviction in 2020, but back rent grows - February 2, 2021
What will President Biden do about affordable housing in his first 100 days? - January 22, 2021
Now that emergency rental assistance has passed, where will it go? - January 15, 2021
Trump signs FY21 spending bill and pandemic relief package - December 29, 2020
Congress reaches stimulus deal with rental assistance and eviction protection - December 23, 2020
Biden announces notable nominations for HUD, USDA departments - December 17, 2020
Millions of renters will lose unemployment benefits as eviction crisis looms - December 14, 2020
Small landlords facing big challenges during the pandemic - December 4, 2020
Call your senators on Thursday to demand pandemic housing assistance - November 17, 2020
HUD Secretary Ben Carson has tested positive for coronavirus - November 10, 2020
Trump administration favors landlords in guidance on eviction moratorium - October 22, 2020
House keeps housing assistance a priority for coronavirus relief - October 2, 2020
Millions still need to claim their coronavirus stimulus checks - September 28, 2020
The pandemic is making it harder for survivors of domestic violence - September 24, 2020
Congress deadlocked on more coronavirus relief - September 21, 2020
CDC orders national eviction moratorium until end of year - September 3, 2020
Carson approves flexibility for CDBG CARES Act Funds - August 19, 2020
Trump executive orders will not help workers or stop evictions - August 18, 2020
Trump fans race and class tensions as HUD guts key fair housing rule - August 5, 2020
Experts fear for eviction crisis during coronavirus pandemic - July 2, 2020
American renters want housing assistance during the pandemic - June 16, 2020
HEROES Act would give a lot of support to low-income renters - May 15, 2020
Homeless persons face the worst of the coronavirus pandemic - April 23, 2020
Calls grow for rent forgiveness as governments order businesses to close - April 3rd, 2020
FTC warns about government check scams - March 19, 2020
Homeless and Emergency Housing Resources
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:
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 emergency 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?
What is Mixed Earners Unemployment Compensation (MEUC)?
Who qualifies for Mixed Earners Unemployment Compensation (MEUC)?
How much money will I get from Mixed Earners Unemployment Compensation (MEUC)?
How do I apply for Mixed Earners Unemployment Compensation?
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.