FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 8, 2020
Providence, RI –RIHousing today announced a new rental assistance program for eligible Rhode Island renters struggling to pay their rent as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The agency’s HOME Emergency Tenant Based Rental Assistance Program (HOME E-TBRA) will help low-to-moderate income families negatively impacted by the unprecedented loss of jobs and income due to COVID-19.
“Rhode Islanders are facing unprecedented challenges as a result of COVID-19, and we should be making every effort to help families stay safely in their homes,” said U.S. Senator Jack Reed, the Ranking Member of the Appropriations Subcommittee responsible for funding federal housing programs. “This new program is a win-win because it will help families remain in their rented homes while also ensuring landlords and property owners are able to meet their own financial obligations. I will continue fighting for additional federal foreclosure prevention, rental assistance, and eviction prevention resources. This is why I have introduced S. 3620, the Housing Assistance Fund, to provide $75 billion in additional federal resources help keep families in their homes.”
To address the challenges, RIHousing is utilizing $500,000 in funding from the HOME Investment Partnerships Program (HOME) to establish the COVID-19 E-TBRA program to provide housing stability for vulnerable Rhode Island families. The HOME program funds a wide range of affordable housing activities, including building, buying, and rehabilitating rental and single-family homes and providing direct rental assistance to low-income people. HOME is a federal block grant to state and local governments designed exclusively to create affordable housing for low-income households.
“The inability to pay rent threatens housing stability for our state’s renters in addition to the financial viability of owners and operators of affordable housing,” said Carol Ventura, Executive Director of RIHousing. “RIHousing is committed to helping Rhode Island families weather this storm. We are working hard to offer creative and effective solutions to the housing challenges facing Rhode Islanders.”
Tenants that meet income eligibility guidelines and live in multi-family rental units, duplexes and single-family residential units owned and operated by individuals or apartments owned by corporate landlords are eligible to apply. Preference will be given to households that are experiencing homelessness or are at risk of imminent homelessness as a result of COVID-19, and/or have experienced a loss of job/income as a result of the pandemic.
The E-TBRA will assist approximately 60-100 income-eligible households with security deposit and/or housing payment assistance from April 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020. Assistance payments will be made directly to landlords, who will be required to meet certain housing standards and enter into a contract with the agency.
Funds for the HOME E-TBRA program are limited. Applications will be accepted beginning Tuesday, September 8 through Tuesday, October 6, 2020. Rhode Island renters facing homelessness and/or struggling to make their rent payments due to a loss of income resulting from COVID-19 are encouraged to reach out today. Program information and an application for assistance can be found online at: www.rihousing.com/emergency-rental-assistance/.
The HOME ETBRA Program is one of several assistance programs launched by RIHousing in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of the Hardest Hit Fund Rhode Island, which is also federally funded, the agency recently launched the COVID-19 Mortgage Payment Assistance Unemployment Program for Rhode Island homeowners who experienced unemployment or underemployment due to the COVID-19 health crisis and are struggling to make their mortgage payments. Earlier this year, the agency launched its HomeSafe Initiative, which provides one-time temporary financial assistance to eligible Rhode Island residents facing a short-term housing crisis. For information on COVID-19 resources and programs, visit www.rihousing.com/covid-19.