District of Columbia – Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP)

STAY DC is able to provide financial assistance to help you pay your rent and utilities.

STAY DC is a financial assistance program that is available to tenants and housing providers in the District of Columbia who are looking for assistance to meet the costs of housing and utilities and to reduce the risk of income loss. Start the application process right away to get the financial assistance you need to pay your rent, as well as your gas, water, electricity, and internet expenses.

Advantages of the plan



The monies are available for use in making back rent payments dating all the way back to April 1st, 2020.



A maximum of three months’ worth of rent can be paid in advance with the available funds.



The costs of providing you with water, gas, electricity, and the internet can be covered for you.



There is a maximum of 18 months that a tenant can receive assistance with their housing.


Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are the requirements for the minimum income?

In order to be considered for this program, the annual income of your household as a whole must be at or below 80 percent of the median income for the district’s area, as outlined in the following chart:

Size of the Household (Table 1)
The total income from all sources falls below or is equivalent to:

1 $57,650
2 $65,850
3 $74,100
4 $82,300
5 $88,900
6 $95,500
7 $102,100
8 $108,650
  • How can I calculate the value of my home?

One of the following approaches can be used to calculate a household’s income:

    • Total household income in 2020 was calculated using the Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) figure reported on the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Form 1040 series for the purpose of determining your individual federal year income tax; alternatively,
    • Gross monthly income from all family members at the time of application for at least the two months preceding the application’s submission. If this method is used to determine whether or not an application is qualified based on income, applicants must recertify their income every three months in order to receive any award extensions they have requested.
  • What kind of household income is deemed acceptable?

Household income that may be considered for eligibility includes salary, wage, tips, commissions, business income, interest, dividend, Social Security, annuities, insurance policies, retirement funds, pensions, disability or death benefits, unemployment and disability compensation, worker’s compensation, and severance pay, and welfare assistance payments.

  • How long will my rental assistance application be considered?

You may apply for up to twelve months of back rent (starting no sooner than April 1, 2020), as well as up to three months of future rent, beginning on the day you submit your application. If your initial application is approved, you will be entitled to make additional requests for extensions in the future; however, your total amount of help cannot exceed 18 months.

  • How much financial help with my rent am I likely to be eligible for?

Applicants are currently eligible for rent assistance up to a specified amount that can be verified. There is no upper limit to the amount that can be requested as long as the sums are properly owing. However, further funding priority or funding limits may be imposed in the future to guarantee equitable distribution to individuals who have been disproportionately affected by the epidemic or who have demonstrated a greater than average need for assistance. This will ensure that resources are distributed fairly.

  • How will I know if my application was received, and can I track the status of my submission?

Checking the status of your application is possible online; for more information, please see the Application User Guide (Tenant or Landlord) found here. At each of the following stages, you will be alerted by email: (1) opening your account; (2) submitting your application; (3) deciding on your application; and (4) distributing your funds.

  • How will I be notified if I am chosen to receive funds?

The winners’ names will be shared through email. The email will serve as the award notification rather than the letter, which will not be mailed. It is critical that you double-check the email address that you provide in the application.

  • Who will be eligible to receive rent or utility assistance payments?

The money for rental assistance will be mailed directly to the landlord or utility provider. If a landlord declines to participate in the program, funds may be paid directly to an eligible household is permitted.

  • Will I eventually have to repay the money that was loaned to me?

No, as long as the candidate meets all of the requirements mentioned in the terms and conditions of the program.

  • Do I have to be a US citizen or a legal resident alien to be eligible for assistance?

This is not the case; the program is open to all rental households in the District of Columbia, regardless of citizenship status.

  • What happens if I am already receiving rent help from another program?

You might still be qualified. You are only permitted to use this Emergency Rental Assistance to pay for rent and utilities that are not already covered by you or other rental assistance programs in your area.

  • What should I do if I have up to this point paid my rent but have had difficulty doing so and am concerned that I will not be able to do so in the future?

You may or may not be eligible for assistance with your forthcoming rent payments, depending on your current income and living situation.

  • I now pay someone else’s rent but would like to request assistance; is this possible?

Yes, BUT ONLY IF YOUR NAME IS ON THE LEASE OR SUBLEASE, OR IF YOU ARE APPLYING FOR ASSISTANCE TO PAY YOUR PART OF THE RENT. In addition, a roommate who is named on the lease and is responsible for paying a share of the rent may apply for financial assistance. In addition, each application must meet all of the other eligibility standards, and you will be needed to produce proof of your financial responsibility or previous payments.

  • Will the amount (or amounts) of the payment(s) that I receive be taxed?

According to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Emergency Rental Assistance is intended to assist eligible households that require financial assistance in paying for rent, utilities, home energy expenses, and other related expenses, and the payments are only excluded from income for those households. This is because Emergency Rental Assistance is designed to aid eligible households in paying for rent, utilities, and other relevant expenses. When calculating your gross income, make sure to include any rent or utility payments you get, whether they come directly from the client or through a distributing firm on the customer’s behalf. See https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/emergency-rental-assistance-frequently-asked-questions/emergency-rental-assistance-frequently-asked-questions

  • How can I verify if my tenant’s STAY DC application is still being processed?

According to section 42-3501.01 of the DC Official Code, any eviction authorized prior to March 11, 2020, and involving nonpayment of rent requires the housing provider to contact the Department of Human Services to determine whether the tenant has a pending Emergency Rental Assistance Program (“ERAP”) application and/or a STAY DC application no earlier than 5 business days and no later than 48 hours before the scheduled date. Furthermore, the housing provider

When sending an email on behalf of the landlord to stay@dc.gov or erap.program@dc.gov, use the following subject line:

The landlord stated, “Inquiry into the status of the pre-eviction application.”

In the primary body of the email, give the tenant’s name and address.

Angela Silva

Angela Silva, a dedicated 42-year-old consultant specializing in government housing and rental assistance, hails from Sydney, Australia. She completed her education with a degree in Urban Planning from the University of New South Wales. Angela’s career has been marked by her relentless advocacy for affordable housing solutions, where she has worked extensively with both local governments and international agencies in Asia-Pacific regions. Her initiatives have led to the development of sustainable housing projects that cater to low-income families. Outside of her professional environment, Angela enjoys a peaceful life with her partner and their two adopted dogs, engaging in community gardening and urban sustainability projects.


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