Photo: Drazen Zigic (Shutterstock) If you’re struggling to pay rent due to COVID, make sure you take advantage of the just-launched $25 billion rental assistance program , which is part of the relief package passed last month. If you can prove hardship, up to 15 months of your rent could be paid for. How rental assistance works Funding is currently being doled out by the Treasury to state and local governments, which should receive all of the funds by January 26. These governments then act as grantees that provide assistance to eligible households through existing or newly created rental assistance programs. Eligible households may receive up to 12 months of assistance, plus an additional three months if the grantee determines that the extra months are needed to ensure housing stability. Funding will be prioritized for those whose rent payments are in arrears and are facing eviction. As Diane Yentel , president of the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC), says: While $25 billion in emergency rental assistance is clearly not enough to meet the estimated $70 billion in accrued back rent or the ongoing need for rental assistance to keep families stably housed, these resources are essential and desperately needed. How to qualify Per the Treasury , an “eligible household” is defined as a renter household in which at least one or more individuals meet the following criteria: Qualifies for unemployment or has experienced a reduction in household income, incurred significant costs, or experienced a financial hardship due to […]