The District has rental assistance programs and housing resources to help residents prevent eviction. DHS is working closely with our District agency partners to establish and implement a coordinated, interagency plan to mitigate housing instability and eviction, and to prevent a surge in homelessness due to the COVID-19 public health emergency.
Following is an overview of rental assistance programs, services and resources available in the District including the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP), the Homelessness Prevention Program (HPP), and STAY DC (Stronger Together By Assisting You), which are administered by DHS.
STAY DC is a financial assistance program for D.C. renters and housing providers who are looking for support to cover housing and utility expenses and offset the loss of income. Apply today to receive money you can use to help you pay for your rent, gas, water, and electricity. and information about STAY DC is available at stay.dc.gov.
The Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) helps District residents earning less than 40% of the Area Median Income (AMI) who are facing housing emergencies, by providing funding for overdue rent including late fees and court costs if a qualified household is facing eviction. The program also supports security deposits and first month's rent for residents moving into new apartments. This is the District’s legacy program and all applications for rental assistance should be directed to STAY DC now.
Homelessness Prevention Program (HPP)
The Homeless Prevention Program (HPP) prevents families at risk of becoming homeless from entering the shelter system by providing services and resources that stabilize the family within the community. Diversion Services are also available to assist families who have been displaced from their homes by securing emergency housing outside of shelter while receiving supportive services to help stabilize their housing or until permanent housing placement.
HPP providers assist families with developing a plan, identifying resources and setting goals that will help them maintain stable housing with their pre-existing support networks, rather than coming into the shelter system. HPP service providers also offer mediation services and flexible financial assistance. All referrals for HPP are made through Virginia Williams Family Resource Center (VWFRC).
If you are a family with children under 18 and need emergency shelter, please call the Shelter Hotline at (202) 399-7093. The Shelter Hotline is available 24 hours a day.
In 2017, DHS launched a pilot rental subsidy program called DC Flex, which gives low-income, working families $7,200 to spend per year on rent for four years (or longer if the pilot is extended). Because a family’s ability to pay rent may change as their income and expenses fluctuate month-to-month, participants can choose how much of their DC Flex funds to spend on rent in a given month (up to their total rent amount) until the $7,200 is exhausted. DHS is evaluating the effectiveness of this intervention through a partnership with the Lab at DC.
Additional Housing Resources
To learn more about these programs, mortgage resources, and utility information, visit coronavirus.dc.gov/rent.