The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 – Specific Assistance for Renters and Homeowners


Countless Americans of all backgrounds have felt the sting of the coronavirus pandemic, including individuals, families, and small business owners. With millions of people losing their jobs and countless others being furloughed, a lot of people are concerned that they might not be able to make their rent or mortgage payments. As much of the economy returns to normal, some are concerned that they might be facing foreclosure or eviction. That is where the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 can be helpful. This is a program that has been designed to deliver immediate economic relief to those in need. This includes emergency rental assistance and homeowners’ assistance.

Emergency Rental Assistance Is Available

This act provides more than $21.5 billion in emergency rental assistance. This money is going to be disbursed by the Treasury to help families stay in their homes. The plan includes more than $150 million in funding for each state as well as the District of Columbia, more than $300 million for US territories, and billions of dollars for those deemed “high risk.”

So, who is eligible for this funding? Households that are obligated to pay rent on a residential dwelling will be eligible for this funding. In order to receive emergency funds, one of the following criteria must be met:

  • Someone in the home has to qualify for unemployment
  • Someone in the home has to have incurred significant financial hardship due to the virus
  • There must be evidence of housing instability or a significant risk of homelessness
  • The household income must be equal to or below 80 percent of the local median

Anyone who meets these conditions could receive emergency rental assistance from the Treasury through this program. To learn more about the application process, candidates should visit this link. Even though many states are still in the process of deciding how they are going to allocate rental funding, many states already have application portals open. Renters should take a look at the resources that are available and reach out to professionals with any questions or concerns.

Homeowner Assistance Fund: Eligible By State

Families should not be forced to decide between paying their mortgage or their other essential obligations. Now, one in ten homeowners is at risk of falling behind on payments, opening up the possibility of foreclosure. Now, $10 billion is being made available in the form of a Homeowner Assistance Fund. This fund provides $50 million for each state, Washington D.C., and Puerto Rico. There is an additional $30 million for other US territories. There is also a mandate to prioritize funding for disadvantaged households.

Right now, states are drafting plans to decide who is eligible and how homeowners can apply for funding. Given the measures in the program, those who are at an immediate risk of facing foreclosure or homelessness, those who have lost their jobs due to the pandemic, those with incomes below the median in their regions, and those who face significant financial hardship directly stemming from the virus will likely be prioritized.

Because each state is responsible for disbursing its funds, homeowners should check out this link to see if there is information available in the local area. Some states already have small mortgage assistance programs open so they can begin helping those in dire need; however, applicants should check back regularly to see if more information (and funding) is made available.

Help Is Available For Those in Need

These are just a few of the many resources that are available to those in need during this difficult time. There are other programs that could be of interest to renters and homeowners looking to make ends meet, including this database. Even though it is good that many people are getting vaccinated, the pandemic has led to severe economic impacts that could displace individuals and families. This emergency assistance is designed to prevent that.