Several states have stopped accepting applications for federal rental assistance.
The programs in New Jersey, New York, Oregon and Texas, as well as Washington, D.C., are either closed or on hold, leaving many struggling renters cut off from their only hope of paying off their debt and staying in their homes.
Congress allocated more than $45 billion in rental assistance in stimulus packages passed in December 2020 and March 2021. That funding was unprecedented: Just $1.5 billion was earmarked for renters during the Great Recession.
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However, the pandemic brought unseen hardship to renters, at one point leaving as many as 40 million people at risk of eviction. Research has found that the average renter in arrears owes $3,700.
A deluge of applications has forced some states to shut their federal rental assistance programs earlier than expected. The aid is available to families who’ve fallen behind because of financial difficulties caused by the pandemic, and allows households to get up to 18 months of their rent covered.
Oregon, New Jersey and Texas all halted their application process in December.
Meanwhile, by November, New York and Washington, D.C., had stopped accepting requests for the relief.
The states have listed alternative resources on their websites.
Many cities and counties across the U.S. also received some of the federal funding, and struggling renters in a state where the main program has closed should check if their are more local ones still open, experts say. For example, in Texas, Dallas County’s rental assistance program continues to operate.
The National Low Income Housing Coalition has a state-by-state list of the 507 programs giving out the aid.