Federal Rental Assistance Program to Close to New Applications on June 1, 2022

Launched in May 2021, RentReliefRI has assisted over 25,000 renter households to date.

RentReliefRI has been a lifeline for RI renters impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, helping thousands of families remain in their homes and catch up on rent and utility payments. The federally-funded RentReliefRI program will close to new applications on June 1, 2022. Launched in March of last year, the program provides financial assistance to cover rent arrears, forward facing rent, utility arrears and certain other housing expenses.

Based on the number of applicants currently under review, and those expected to apply for assistance between now and June 1, 2022, the agency anticipates that all remaining RentReliefRI funds allocated to financial assistance to renters will soon be depleted and therefore, is closing the program to new applicants on June 1, 2022.

Completed applications submitted by June 1, 2022, will continue to be processed and those that meet eligibility guidelines will be eligible to receive assistance after the closing date, which will be limited to past due rent and utilities, current month rent and 3 months forward-facing rent after which time there will be no further financial assistance available under the RentReliefRI program.

EXISTING APPLICATIONS

Completed applications submitted prior to 11:59 pm on June 1, 2022, will remain under review, and if found eligible for assistance, may receive help with past due rent and utilities, current month’s rent and three (3) months of forward-facing rent. After the forward-facing rent is paid, there will be no further assistance available from the RentReliefRI program. Additional information for applicants can be found in our FAQ >

If you need help updating your application, you may reach out to your case manager or the RentReliefRI Call Center. If you received assistance in submitting your application, you may also reach out to the community partner who assisted you. A listing of community partners is available here.

RECERTIFICATIONS

RentReliefRI will no longer be accepting new applications as of June 1, 2022. Please see the following information to determine if you may be eligible to receive additional assistance:

  • If you have received assistance starting on or before the month of February 2022 and are scheduled to recertify in the month of May 2022, you may be eligible to receive additional assistance. You will need to log into your account and follow the recertification process.
  • If you have received assistance on or after the month of March 2022 and are scheduled to recertify during the month of June or July 2022, you will not be eligible to receive assistance as the program will close to new applications (including recertification) on June 1, 2022.

If you need help with the recertification process, you may reach out to your case manager or the RentReliefRI Call Center. If you received assistance in submitting your application, you may also reach out to the community partner who assisted you.

Additional information for applicants can be found in our FAQs >

Who is eligible for RentRelief RI?

Tenant applicants must meet all of the following criteria to be considered for rent relief:

  • Your household income must meet certain income limits. Limits vary by location and household size. Click here to view Income Limits > 
  • You must have qualified for unemployment benefits or have experienced a reduction in household income, incurred significant costs, OR experienced other financial hardship due, directly or indirectly, to COVID-19.
  • You must show you are at risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability. This may include submitting past-due rent and utility bills or eviction notices when you apply.

This program is only for renters and their landlords.

What documents do I need?

  • Identification (ex. In-state or out-of-state ID; passport; state or city-issued ID; any form of Government issued ID; expired IDs are acceptable)
  • A signed copy of the Self-Attestation form
  • Proof of residency (ex; bank statement, utility bill, driver’s license)
  • Proof of income (ex; wage statements, unemployment letter, 2020 tax return)
  • Signed copy of your lease agreement or documentation showing tenancy (a pattern of rent payment)
  • Documentation demonstrating your rental/utility arrearage (ex; past due utility bill, eviction notice, 5 day demand letter, communication from landlord)
  • Landlord contact information (address, email and phone number) or written statement that landlord is unwilling to participate

*If you have received a notice from the court for an eviction proceeding against you, please have that documentation available.

**Even if you do not have these documents, you may still be eligible., Call 1-855-608-8756 or reach out to one of our partners for help completing the application.

Please fill out and submit the Self-Attestation Form with your application for rental and/or utility assistance.

The Self-Attestation Form may be used in instances where other documentation is not available.

Questions?

RentReliefRI Call Center: 1-855-608-8756

Hours of Operation: M-F: 8:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. | Saturday: 8:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

UPDATE: 02-17-2022

RentReliefRI Centreville Bank Partnership.

RIHousing has partnered with Centreville Bank to assist direct payment recipients who lack a traditional bank account. Centreville Bank will establish an account for direct payment recipients to deposit their RentReliefRI check and have the funds paid to their landlord(s) via cashier’s check.
Learn more on our FAQ >

UPDATE: 02-07-22

Renters Needing Assistance with Heating Oil and/or Propane

There are financial resources available through Community Action Programs (CAP) across RI. CAP agencies administer both the Low Income Home Energy Assistance (LIHEAP) and the Good Neighbor Energy Fund programs. Interested households may apply for either program via a CAP agency serving their community.  Click here to learn more >

Frequently Asked Questions

Who can apply for Rent Relief RI?

Both landlords and tenants may initiate an application for the program. Information from both the tenant and landlord will be required to successfully complete an application.

Please note that RentReliefRI will close to new applications on June 1, 2022. If you need assistance and believe you are eligible, please apply as soon as possible.

I was recently recertified for three (3) months of forward-facing rent. Will I be eligible for additional rental payments once the program has closed to new applications?

RentReliefRI will no longer be accepting new applications as of June 1, 2022. Please see the following information to determine if you may be eligible to receive additional assistance:

  • If you have received assistance starting on or before the month of February 2022 and are scheduled to recertify in the month of May 2022, you may be eligible to receive additional financial assistance. You will need to log into your account and follow the recertification process prior to 11:59 pm on June 1, 2022.
  • If you have received assistance on or after the month of March 2022 and are scheduled to recertify during the month of June or July 2022, you will not be eligible to receive additional financial assistance as the program will close to new applications (including recertifications) on June 1, 2022.
What is the deadline to apply?

New applications will be accepted until 11:59 pm on June 1, 2022.

I have applied for RentReliefRI already but have not yet been approved. Does this mean I will not be able to receive assistance when the program closes on June 1?

If you have submitted your application prior to the closing date, your application will remain under review, and if found eligible for assistance, you may be eligible for help with past due rent and utilities, current month’s rent and three (3) months of forward-facing rent. After the forward-facing rent is paid, there will be no further financial assistance available from the RentReliefRI program.

Who is eligible for Rent Relief RI?

Tenant applicants must meet all of the following criteria to be considered for rent relief:

  • Your household income must meet certain income limits. Limits vary by location and household size. Click here to view Income Limits.
  • You must have qualified for unemployment benefits or have experienced a reduction in household income, incurred significant costs, OR experienced other financial hardship due, directly or indirectly, to COVID-19.
  • You must show you are at risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability. This may include submitting past-due rent and utility bills or eviction notices when you apply.
  • You must submit a completed application prior to 11:59 pm on June 1, 2022.
I have received a preapproval letter for a security deposit and up to three months of forward-facing rent. Will I still be able to receive assistance after RentReliefRI ends on June 1, 2022?

If you have received a pre-approval letter for forward-facing assistance with rent and/or security deposit, have secured a unit and have updated the information in your online application by 11:59 pm on June 1, 2022 you will still be able to receive three (3) months of rental assistance.

If you are unable to do so, you will not be able to receive the rental assistance.

What other resources exist for renters struggling to make their rent and/or utility payments?

For renters who have already received 18 months of assistance from the RentReliefRI program, or are not eligible to recertify for another three months of assistance in May, United Way 2-1-1 in Rhode Island is a 24/7 social and human services helpline that offers free and confidential referrals to programs and services throughout the state. Dial 2-1-1 for immediate assistance from a specialist or visit their website for more information.

For those experiencing homelessness, call the Rhode Island Coordinated Entry hotline at (401) 277-4316.

Free legal aid is available to assist low-income tenants with referrals, legal information, and legal representation for evictions statewide. Renters can reach out to RI Legal Services and/or The Center for Justice for assistance.
RI Legal Services: 401-274-2652 // The Center for Justice: 401-491-1101.

Do I have to be on unemployment to qualify?

No. As long as you can show a COVID-related need and meet the income requirements you do not need to be on unemployment to qualify for this program.

However, your application for assistance must be submitted prior to 11:59 pm on June 1, 2022.

Download the self-attestation form here. 

Do I have to be behind on rent to benefit from the rental assistance program?

No. You may apply for rent relief to cover past AND/OR upcoming rent payments. You may also apply for utility assistance for any past due payments. You will be able to apply for rent back to April 1, 2020 if needed.

However, the RentReliefRI program is closing to new applications on June 1, 2022; in order to receive assistance, completed applications must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. on June 1, 2022.

What will Rent Relief RI cover?

The Emergency Rental Assistance Program can pay for rent and some utilities owed back to April 1, 2020.

There is no monthly cap on eligible rent relief. The monthly amount is determined by the rent payment agreed to in your lease and documented arrearages. The program will also cover the security deposit and up to three months of upcoming rent.

Utilities include electricity, water, trash, and heat. You may apply for help with paying for utilities even if you do not need help paying for rent. Applicants are eligible for up to a total of 18 months of assistance.

New applications for rent and utilities assistance that are submitted by 11:59 pm on June 1, 2022 may be eligible to receive assistance for past due rent and/or utilities, current rent, and three (3) months of forward-facing rent.

No repayment of the assistance is required and it does not count as income for tenants.
Can I apply for funds to help with utilities, even if I don’t need rent relief?

Yes, renters may apply for help paying for utilities even if they do not need help paying for rent. You will need to show past amount(s) due by providing a recent statement from the utility company/companies.

In order to receive utility assistance, you will need to submit a completed application by 11:59 pm on June 1, 2022.

What information do I need to apply?

Having the following documents ready will result in the quickest processing of your application:

If you are a Tenant:

  • Documentation demonstrating that you live in Rhode Island (ex; bank statement, utility bill, driver’s license)
  • Proof of income (ex; wage statements, unemployment letter, 2020 tax return)
  • Signed copy of your lease agreement or documentation showing tenancy (a pattern of rent payment)
  • Documentation demonstrating your rental/utility arrearage (ex; past due utility bill, eviction notice, 5 day demand letter, communication from landlord)
  • Self-attestation form

*If you have received a notice from the court for an eviction proceeding against you, please have that documentation available.

**Even if you do not have these documents you may still be able to qualify for assistance. Please call 1-855-608-8756 or reach out to our partners here for help completing the application.

 

I do not have some of the documentation asked for in the online application. What can I do?

Applicants who do not have some of the information requested in the RentReliefRI online application are able to submit a Self-Attestation Form with your application for rental and/or utility assistance.

The Self-Attestation Form can be filled out and uploaded into the application portal.

Click here to download the Self-Attestation Form >

What should I do if I am facing eviction?
If you are facing eviction, please contact RI Legal Services or the Center for Justice.
 
If you are applying for rental assistance from the RentReliefRI program, please note your eviction status as applicants in eviction proceedings are prioritized. Please note that the RentReliefRI program is closing to new applications on June 1, 2022; in order to receive financial assistance, completed applications must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. on June 1, 2022.

 

Am I eligible for assistance from the Rent Relief RI program if I also received assistance from other rental assistance programs?

Receiving assistance from other programs neither qualifies nor disqualifies you from receiving assistance from Rent Relief RI. However, you cannot receive assistance for any costs that have already been paid through other rental assistance programs.
You will need to create an account, apply for the program, and also meet the eligibility criteria established for RentReliefRI by 11:59 pm on June 1, 2022.

I have applied but I have not received any communications from RentReliefRI.

For some applicants, emails from RentReliefRI program staff may end up in their ‘junk’ or ‘spam’ email folders. If you have applied for rental and/or utility assistance from RentReliefRI, please remember to check your junk/spam folders on a regular basis so you do not miss important emails.

As the RentReliefRI program will be closing to new applications on June 1, 2022, please be sure to check your email for information regarding your application if you are attempting to submit an application or are recertifying for additional assistance.

How are applicants prioritized for RentReliefRI?

RIHousing is required to prioritize serving families that meet certain criteria by using a “prioritization” system.  Applications will be assigned to an auditor to begin working on based on their priority level.  The higher the level, the earlier the application will be assigned and therefore the potential to be paid out earlier than those with lower priority.  RIHousing is also permitted to establish other priorities, at its discretion. RIHousing is required to prioritize the following applicants:

Priority 1
Applicants with a risk of eviction AND that have an AMI at or below 50% AMI AND that have been unemployed 90 days or more will be given a priority level of 1.   Risk of eviction will be defined as having a notice to vacate, where a hearing has taken place and judgment to vacate has been issued, those that have received a court date notice or received notice of a utility disconnection or a 5-day demand letter.

Priority 2
Applicants with a risk of eviction AND an AMI at or below 50% will be given a priority level of 2.

Priority 3
Applicants with an AMI at or below 50% AND that have been unemployed 90 days or more will be given a priority level of 3.

Priority 4
Applicants with an AMI at or below 50% will be given a priority level of 4.

Priority 5
Applicants with an AMI between 50-80% will be given a priority level of 5.

What should renters do if they need assistance with heating oil and/or propane?

There are financial resources available through Community Action Programs (CAP) across RI. CAP agencies administer both the Low Income Home Energy Assistance (LIHEAP) and the Good Neighbor Energy Fund programs. Interested households may apply for either program via a CAP agency serving their community.

Click here to learn more >

I’ve been approved for rental assistance via direct payment but do not have a bank account. What can I do to ensure I can deposit my check and pay my landlord the funds received?

RIHousing has partnered with Centreville Bank to assist direct payment recipients who lack a traditional bank account. Centreville Bank will establish an account for direct payment recipients to deposit their check and have the funds paid to landlords via cashier’s check.

Once applicants receive their RentReliefRI check, they can visit Centreville Bank’s Cranston branch location (193 Comstock Parkway, Cranston, RI) to speak with a member of their team to start the process. The bank will have dedicated staff available to help during regular business hours: Monday – Thursday 8:30 AM – 4:00 PM; Friday 8:30 AM – 6:00 PM; Saturday 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM. Bank staff will confirm the person’s name, check number and check amount with RentReliefRI staff and open a bank account to deposit the funds and provide a cashier’s check for the landlord. This new partnership will remove a significant barrier for renters who lack access to a bank account.

Please note, the RentReliefRI program is closing to new applications on June 1, 2022.

 

To receive updates on the program please fill out this form:

About RentReliefRI

RentReliefRI is being supported, in whole or in part, by federal award number ERA0013 awarded to the State of Rhode Island by the U.S. Department of Treasury.

Newly passed legislation in Rhode Island now makes it illegal to discriminate against a potential tenant based on their source of income. This includes discriminating against tenants because they receive a housing choice voucher. This discrimination may include advertisements that say “No Section 8 allowed” or telling a potential tenant a unit is no longer available after learning they have a voucher. To learn more, please click here.