Michigan renters with active eviction cases can still apply for emergency rent aid through the end of the month.
The COVID Emergency Rental Assistance (CERA) — meant to help families catch up on rent and utilities and keep them housed during the COVID-19 pandemic — stopped taking new applications June 30.
But the Michigan State Housing Development Authority, the agency responsible for distributing about $1.1 billion in federal pandemic rental assistance, said renters who have not applied to the program before and who have an ongoing eviction case — meaning they have received a summons and complaint from their district court — can apply for the dollars by at least July 31.
“We just wanted to try to make sure that if people didn’t apply before June 30, and they do actively have an eviction case that we were continuing to make the program available because they are the closest to being displaced,” said Kelly Rose, MSHDA chief housing solutions officer.
MSHDA looked into all of the applications that came into the CERA program and found that there is room for additional “high priority” cases like evictions where housing is the most unstable, Rose said.
So far, MSHDA has spent roughly $800 million in rent and utilities assistance and still has $300 million to pay out, which the agency expects to distribute by this fall, she said. More than 70,000 applications still need to be processed, according to a statewide dashboard.
“We feel we will be able to process the vast majority of applications that we’ve received,” Rose said.
There’s a possibility, she said, that there may not be enough funds for those who applied for an additional three months of assistance — or a recertification — but MSHDA anticipates that the dollars are there for active evictions and anyone applying for the first time.
The program covers up to 18 months of rent, including back and future payments, for those who faced a pandemic related financial hardship. MSHDA can’t pay rent past Sept. 30 of this year.
In order to qualify, applicants must have received a summons and complaint document from their district court. The window of time to apply is geared toward those who haven’t applied to CERA before. Household incomes generally must fall below 80% of the area median income. In Wayne County, that translates to a family of four making $71,600 or less.
For now, the CERA program is open for eligible households through July 31 but MSHDA will look into how many applications come in the last week of this month and determine whether the window to apply can be extended, Rose said.
In order to apply, tenants have to contact their county’s housing agency by going to Michigan.gov/CERA. They will then receive an invitation to apply online or a paper application. Renters can also visit michiganlegalhelp.org/ for more help.
- For those living in Detroit, Highland Park and Hamtramck who have an active eviction case, go to www.DetroitEvictionHelp.com or call 866-313-2520.
- For those facing eviction in other Wayne County communities, refer to the Wayne Metropolitan Community Action Agency at www.waynemetro.org or call 734-284-6999.
- Wayne County’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program — separate from the statewide CERA program — is still open and taking applications. Applicants don’t have to have an eviction case to qualify. Renters can’t apply for both CERA and the county program. For more information, go to https://bit.ly/WayneCountyERAP.
- Contact the Macomb County Community Action by visiting mca.macombgov.org/CERA or call 586-469-7900.
- Reach the Community Housing Network at communityhousingnetwork.org/ or call 888-441-1742.