COVID-19 Emergency Rent Relief Assistance Program Frequently Asked Questions

Page updated on Aug 19, 2020 at 12:57 PM

How long will it take to process my application?  Our goal is to process applications and issue payment within 14 business days. However, processing time may be extended if you are unable to provide necessary documentation to verify your income, reduction in hours, or job loss. 

I’ve been paying my rent from my savings, but I’m running out of money. Can this program help me?  To be eligible for the program, you must have assets of less than half the monthly income for your household size. See the chart above for the income limit.

My address says “Alexandria” but I live in Fairfax County. Am I eligible?  No, you must live in the corporate limits of the city of Alexandria.

I paid my March rent, but I couldn’t pay my April rent. Am I eligible?  Yes. If you were current on your rent in March 2020 you are eligible.

I owed my landlord rent/was in eviction proceedings as of March 31, 2020. Am I eligible? No, only tenants who were in good standing as of March 31, 2020 are eligible.

I have a Housing Choice Voucher. Am I eligible for the program? No. Households with Housing Choice Vouchers (Section 8), who live in Project Based Voucher units or Public Housing (ARHA) or receive other government rental assistance are NOT eligible.

I am undocumented/not a citizen. Am I eligible for the program? Yes. Eligibility does not depend on citizenship/legal status.

My only income is Social Security/a pension/payments from my retirement fund. Am I eligible? No. Only people who lost employment or income because of the COVID-19 pandemic are eligible.

I am receiving unemployment. Will this count as income?  Yes, any cash or cash-equivalent payments you are receiving on a regular basis, such as unemployment or TANF count as income. A cash equivalent payment is something you can spend anywhere, like a pre-paid debit card.

I receive SNAP/food stamps. Will this count as income?  No. Any non-cash benefits like SNAP do not count as income. Non-cash benefits are benefits you can only use for one purpose, like buying food or medicine.

Does my Economic Impact Payment (stimulus check) count as income?  No. One-time payments like the federal stimulus check are not counted as income for this program.

I had to leave my job/reduce my work hours because I couldn’t find childcare. Am I eligible?  Yes. If you can document your child’s care provider/school closed and you had to leave your job or reduce your hours to care for them, you are eligible for this program.

I left my job because I am a medically high-risk person. Am I eligible?  Yes. If you are over 60 or can provide a note from a medical provider or other medical records showing you have a medical condition that puts you at high-risk and you left your job because you didn’t want to get sick, you are eligible.

I was an Uber/Lyft driver, Taskrabbit worker, or other gig employee before COVID-19, am I eligible?  Yes. If you can document income loss because of COVID-19, you are is eligible.

Do you provide the rental assistance funds directly to me?  The rental assistance funds are provided directly to your landlord to be credited to your account. To verify this, you may request a copy of your ledger from your landlord. If you think your landlord hasn’t credited your account properly, you should contact the Office of Housing Landlord-Tenant Division at 703.746.4990.

Assistance of up to $1,800 doesn’t cover my entire rent. What do I do?  To qualify for the program, you and your landlord must set up a payment plan that will allow you to repay any remaining rent you owe. However, these funds can be combined with other assistance which may be available from the Department of Community and Human Services and/or charitable and non-profit organizations. 

Why can’t the program pay my entire rent? In order to serve the most households, the amount of assistance per household is limited to up to a total of $1,800.

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