As the CDC Eviction Moratorium is set to expire this weekend, the need for rental, utility and housing assistance is more urgent than ever. The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted employment nationwide, leading to financial hardship and precarious living situations. The Arizona Department of Economic Security (DES) and its community partners are here to help you stay in your home, find shelter, and maintain financial stability, so you can continue to participate in the growth and resurgence of our state’s strong economy.
Emergency Rental and Utility Assistance
In February, DES launched the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP), which has provided millions to households across Arizona enabling families to tackle past-due rental and utility payments. Eligible households may receive up to $3,500 per month for both rent and utility assistance for a maximum of 18 months. Renters living in Maricopa, Pima and Yuma Counties are eligible for the program operated by their city or county, the details of which are listed on our website (see “Other City and County-Operated Programs”). To date, DES has issued over $11.2 million in rental and utility assistance to eligible households.
In June, DES expanded utility-only assistance for renters to the entire state, providing another resource for families residing in Maricopa, Pima and Yuma Counties. To date, DES has issued $2.77 million in utility-only assistance to eligible households.
Additionally, households can also apply for utility assistance through their local Community Action Agency. The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is a federally-funded program that helps low-income households pay their heating/cooling bills, minimize crises, and make energy costs more affordable.
If you are in need of additional rental assistance resources, the Consumer Protection Financial Bureau developed a rental and utility assistance look-up tool to help you find more options in your area.
Homeless Prevention and Shelter Services
While DES’s priority is to keep individuals within their own homes, we understand that circumstances may result in individuals and families needing to take shelter elsewhere. Over the course of the pandemic, Governor Doug Ducey and DES have invested over 22 million in federal funds to support individuals facing homelessness. This has strengthened the capacity of dozens of shelters and community organizations statewide to continue to serve individuals and families while maintaining social distancing and other standards set by the CDC and the Arizona Department of Health Services.
Homeless prevention assists individuals and families with an immediate housing need, in situations where, if they did not receive the funds, they would be homeless. It seeks to keep families and individuals safely housed and off of the streets or out of an emergency shelter. In State Fiscal Years 2020 and 2021, DES provided over $2.6 million in funding for homeless prevention.
The DES Homeless Coordination Office contracts with community partners to prevent homelessness, provide shelter services and rapidly rehouse those who are experiencing homelessness. Learn more and find the resources available across Arizona.
Short-Term Crisis Services
Short-Term Crisis Services (STCS) Program provides temporary assistance to eligible low-income families experiencing an emergency need that cannot be met immediately by their own income, and resources to help stabilize an immediate financial crisis. Among the services available include assistance with rent, mortgage and utilities, as well as emergency shelter. To apply for STCS, contact the local Community Action Agency (CAA) in your area.
The Federal Finance Housing Agency (FHFA), which oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, encourages homeowners adversely impacted by the coronavirus who are having difficulty paying their mortgages to reach out to their mortgage servicers. If you have a mortgage through Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac and are experiencing financial hardship, you may be able to delay your mortgage payments without risk of late fees, foreclosure or other legal proceedings.
Emergency Broadband Benefit Program Available for Low-Income Households
The Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) is a temporary discount on monthly internet bills for qualifying low-income households. EBB provides up to $50 per month for broadband services purchased by eligible households and up to $75 per month for households located on Tribal lands, as well as a one-time discount of $100 for the purchase of a desktop, laptop or tablet computer from participating providers. More information can be found at https://www.fcc.gov/broadbandbenefit and https://connect-arizona.com/.
Making a Difference
The efforts DES and its partners have made during the pandemic has made a considerable impact in our state’s ability to rebound quickly. While the expiration of the eviction moratorium will be felt by many Arizonans, we have strengthened the network of services available to help those who continue to struggle. With your partnership, we continue to make a difference, not only today - but tomorrow and into the future.