All About DC’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP)

Help With Rent All About DC’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP)

All About DC’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP)

Washington DC has the fifth most expensive rental market in the entire country, which makes it challenging for the city's low-income residents to keep up with housing costs. A temporary financial setback is often enough to place them at serious risk of eviction and potential homelessness.

If you're dealing with a housing crisis because you've lost your job or had unexpected medical expenses, you may be able to qualify for rental assistance. Resources like DC's ERAP (Emergency Rental Assistance Program) offer a lifeline for low-income residents that need a little help to get back on track.

Learn more about how you can receive this kind of rental assistance, including what it takes to qualify and how DoNotPay can make the application process much simpler.

The Types of Rental Assistance Offered in Washington DC

Washington DC has multiple government assistance programs that may be able to help residents that are struggling to pay the rent. Depending on the details of your situation, the best options include:

  1. ERAP. ERAP is the city's main resource for helping residents avoid homelessness in a crisis. The program can pay up to five months of your past due rent or provide the initial deposit for a new apartment if you're in danger of homelessness. Send a message for questions and clarifications.
  2. COVID-19 Housing Assistance Program (CHAP). CHAP directs a portion of DC's Covid relief fund to help eligible tenants whose income has been affected by the pandemic. The program is being organized by the Greater Washington Urban League, as well as other non-profit groups. You can send them an email for rent relief and housing assistance, if you have queries.
  3. Housing Choice Voucher Program (HCVP). DC's Housing Choice Voucher Program (previously known as Section 8) provides affordable housing by subsidizing rentals with private landlords. Some applicants may qualify for immediate placement, but HCVP is not designed for emergencies.
  4. Housing Counseling Services (HCS). HCS has a program to assist tenants that belong to specific vulnerable groups. There is one for people living with HIV/AIDS and another that specializes in helping Veterans that may become homeless. You can send an email for the Veterans program or the HIV/AIDS program.
ProgramType of AidPhone NumberApplication Link
Emergency Rental Assistance RAPEmergency Assistance(202) 507-6666Apply here
COVID-19 Housing Assistance Program (CHAP)Emergency Assistance for Covid-related financial difficulty(202) 524-8175 OR (202) 231-7910Apply here
Housing Choice Voucher Program (HCVP)Long-term assistance with a housing voucher(202) 435-3245Apply here
Housing Counseling Services (HCS)Emergency assistanceFor the Veterans program: (202) 667-7366

For the HIV/AIDS program:  (202) 900-9471

Send an email

What Is ERAP (Emergency Rental Assistance Program)?

ERAP is aimed at helping DC's low-income residents avoid imminent eviction, especially households that have children, senior citizens, or people with disabilities. This program is specifically designed for emergency situations, which makes it one of the fastest resources for getting rental assistance when you really need it.

The funds provided by ERAP can be utilized for:

  • Paying up to 5 months of past-due rent, with limits that are based on the household's income
  • Paying the security deposit or first month's rent to secure a new apartment
  • Court costs and late payment costs related to an eviction

Who Is Eligible to Receive DC's ERAP Funds?

ERAP's resources are set aside for DC residents that are most vulnerable to homelessness. The eligibility requirements include:

  • You are a DC resident.
  • You are at least 30 days behind on your rent or are facing the threat of homelessness.
  • Your household has at least one member that is a child under the age of 19, an adult that's older than 59, or a person with a medical disability.
  • Your household's total income is less than 40% of the city's average income for a family of your size.
  • You haven't already received ERAP funds in the last 12 months.

How Long Does It Take to Receive Rental Assistance from DC ERAP?

If you're wondering how long the rental assistance process takes with ERAP, there is no definitive answer. Applications for these funds are reviewed in the order in which they're received, which means you're better off applying sooner rather than later.

Once it gets to be your turn, the process will take about 10 days. The ERAP case manager will determine your eligibility and then make an appropriate payment directly to the landlord or property manager.

How to Apply for DC's ERAP Program On Your Own

If you're a low-income DC resident facing an unexpected financial setback that affects your ability to pay for housing, you may be eligible to receive help with your rent from ERAP. Begin the process by applying either online or by mailing in your application.

Steps to Apply Online

  1. Head to the program website and click on Apply for Rental Assistance
  2. Provide information about your income, household members, rental situation, and other relevant details
  3. Upload a scanned copy of your verifying documents, which will include your lease, a photo ID for every adult, and proof of income
  4. Upload a scanned copy of verifying documents from your landlord, which includes their Taxpayer Identification Number and a rental ledger showing the past due rent
  5. Submit the application and wait for an email that your case is being reviewed

Steps to Apply by Mail

  1. Print out the physical application from the Salvation Army's website
  2. Provide relevant information about your income and household members
  3. Make copies of verifying documents requested by the application, such as your lease, a photo ID for each adult
  4. Make copies of verifying documents from your landlord, like their Taxpayer Identification Number and proof of how much rent you owe
  5. If you're a resident of DC Wards 1-6, mail the application to 1434 Harvard Street, NW, Washington, DC 20009
  6. If you're a resident of DC Wards 7 and 8, mail the application to 2300 Martin Luther King Jr Ave., SE, Washington, DC 20032

Apply for Rental Assistance In Washington, DC With the Help of DoNotPay

When you're dealing with a temporary financial crisis, paying the rent can go from difficult to impossible.

Unfortunately, it's not easy to figure out the best rental assistance options in Washington DC, or which ones you might be able to qualify for. ERAP is one of the best resources for emergency rental assistance, but there are also others. That's why DoNotPay has a simple rental assistance tool that can help you gather all the right information and then reach out to the local housing authority on your behalf.

This step-by-step process can be done from the comfort of your smartphone or laptop, which takes a lot of the guesswork and hassle out of the rental assistance application process.

How to Apply for Housing Assistance in Washington DC With DoNotPay

We can compose a letter to your local housing authority based on your situation and inquire about your best options for receiving assistance. Here are the 4 steps:

  1. Search for Rental Assistance on DoNotPay.


  2. Put together a list of your income, debts, expenses, and assets. If you need help accessing information like your credit report, DoNotPay can help you get your report.


  3. Let DoNotPay collect your basic information and compose a letter to your local housing authority requesting rental assistance.


  4. Lastly, DoNotPay will send your letter to your local housing authority.


Why Use DoNotPay to Apply for Rental Assistance in Washington, DC

DoNotPay's rental assistance tool is a fast, easy, and legally sound option to get the ball rolling when you need some temporary help paying for housing.

You can think of it as having your own virtual lawyer helping you gather all the relevant information to apply for ERAP and other Washington DC rental assistance programs you may qualify for.

What Else Can DoNotPay Do?

DoNotPay uses artificial intelligence to help users solve a wide range of problems. A few of the most popular ways to use DoNotPay include:

Try DoNotPay today to save money, save time, or simply save yourself a lot of hassle!

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