Finding affordable housing was challenging for many families before the COVID-19 pandemic. However, due to the pandemic, families now increasingly face rental debt, evictions, and the loss of basic housing security.
Housing stability ensures children and families experience less stress and experience overall well-being, including physical and mental health. You can assist families in finding stable housing through your ongoing partnerships with the Public Housing Authority (PHA), Continuum of Care program (CoC), and other community partnerships.
Explore this resource to connect families with local organizations that provide housing assistance through newly created programs under the American Rescue Plan or existing programs. The resource also includes helpful links to support families experiencing housing instability.
American Rescue Plan Benefits
Emergency Rental Housing Assistance Information
You may hear parents express concerns about paying their rent. When this happens, ask them if you can help them apply for rental assistance. If they agree, start by finding their local rental assistance program through the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's (CFPB) Find Rental Assistance Programs tool. Afterwards, learn together about the application process. Families may be able to apply for rental assistance themselves. Or they may need to work with their landlord to apply.
To be eligible for rental assistance, a family must agree to pay rent on their home or mobile home lot. They don't necessarily need to have a signed lease. Their home can be an apartment, house, mobile home, or other place. Eligibility also requires the following three statements to be true:
- At least one member of the household has:
- Qualified for unemployment or should qualify
- Lost income
- Owed large expenses OR
- Had other financial hardships
- Household income is below a certain amount, based on where they live.
- At least one member of the household is experiencing housing instability, which means they are at risk of becoming homeless or would have trouble finding a stable place to live.
To learn more about the eligibility criteria, check out Am I eligible for emergency rental assistance?.
Emergency Housing Vouchers
Emergency Housing Vouchers (EHVs) are available through PHAs for eligible families. Emergency Housing Vouchers assist people who
- Are experiencing or at risk of experiencing homelessness
- Are fleeing or attempting to flee domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, stalking, or human trafficking OR
- Are recently homeless
A housing voucher typically pays a portion of the rent for a qualifying household, and the voucher recipient is required to pay a percentage of their income toward the rent.
Your community's local PHA will distribute these vouchers.
If the family is experiencing homelessness or is at risk of experiencing homelessness, please check with your local PHA and CoC program.
If you don't have a partnership with your local PHA, start with the nearest PHA in your state. Reach out to the PHA and CoC. First, let them know you are a "supportive service provider." Then tell them you would like to partner to ensure that families receiving Head Start or Early Head Start early childhood education services can find stable housing.
Office of Native American Programs (ONAP)
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) highlights the Office of Native American Programs, where you can find information on housing, rental assistance, and other resources for Native American families and tribal housing staff.
Updates on United States Department of Housing and Urban Development Policies
The HUD website features the HUD Exchange Mailing Lists. You can sign up at the exchange to receive email updates on HUD policies, critical deadlines, and training opportunities.
Housing Discrimination Complaints
This website allows a family to file a housing discrimination complaint if a family member reports experiencing housing discrimination.
Children and Families Experiencing Homelessness
This comprehensive set of resources can help support families in your program who are or may be experiencing homelessness.
Resource Type: Article
National Centers: Parent, Family and Community Engagement
Last Updated: December 14, 2021