Last Updated: June 2020
Q: How much funding is available for this program?
A: The program has an initial budget of $6 million.
Q: How much assistance is available for each household?
A: Each household may receive up to maximum of $5,000 in assistance.
Q: What can funding be used for?
A: Program funds may be used to pay past due rent, late fees on a rental account, rental assistance for the month ahead, or moving costs associated with relocation.
Q: Who is eligible for assistance?
A: Rhode Island renter households that have experienced a loss of income due to the COVID-19 emergency and are at immediate risk of homelessness may be eligible to receive assistance. Households must meet income criteria in order to qualify.
Q: What counts as a “household?”
A: A household is either an individual or a group of individuals who share a common living facility. Only one adult per household may apply for assistance.
Q: How will income eligibility be assessed?
A: Income eligibility will be assessed based on total household earnings prior to the recent loss of income.
Q: I am a homeowner. Am I eligible to apply?
A: Housing Help RI can only currently serve renters at imminent risk of homelessness. Homeowners should contact their mortgage lender/servicer to review and discuss available assistance options, such as those provided under the federal CARES Act. Many financial institutions have committed to offering relief to homeowners impacted by the COVID-19 health crisis. Click here to learn more.
Q: I am behind in my rent. Can I apply for assistance?
A: Renter households that face an immediate risk of homelessness as described above are eligible to apply. If you meet that criteria, you may receive assistance to pay past due rent.
Q: I am current on my rent but am afraid I won’t be able to make my next month’s rent payment. Can I apply for assistance?
A: Housing Help RI is designed to assist households at serious risk of housing instability and homelessness. While program funds can assist eligible applicants with rent for the coming month, households generally must be more than thirty days late on rent in order to qualify as at risk. There are some exceptions, such as households living in overcrowded or physically unsafe conditions.
Q: Will households receive a direct funding award through the program?
A: No, financial assistance will be paid on a household’s behalf to third-party entities such as a property owner, property manager, or moving company.
Q: I moved to Rhode Island six months ago. Am I eligible to apply for this assistance?
A: No, eligible households must have resided in Rhode Island for a minimum of one year.
Q: Am I guaranteed assistance once I apply?
A: Incomplete applications will be placed on hold until all information is received. Applicants who fail to provide all required information, or are found ineligible based on the program’s requirements, will not receive assistance. If program funds are exhausted, eligible applicants will be added to a wait list and notified if additional funds becomes available.
Q: If I am accepted into the program, how much assistance can I expect to receive?
A: Award amounts will be determined based on applicants’ individual circumstances and need, but will be capped at $5,000 per household.
Q: How often can I apply for assistance?
A: Due to limited funding availability, eligible households may only receive grant assistance once.
Now that state courts are re-opening, can I be evicted for not paying rent?
If you are able to pay your rent, you should do so. During June, the District Court will begin to hear eviction cases that were filed before the COVID-19 emergency (prior to March 17th). Eviction cases filed due to a reason other than non-payment will only be scheduled for a hearing in June if the eviction is based upon a public safety violation.
The District Court will begin to schedule newly filed eviction cases in July, subject to social distancing capacity and safety considerations.