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Bowser Announces New Rental, Utility Assistance Program

On Monday, Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) and Director of the Department of Human Services (DHS) Laura Zeilinger announced Stay DC.

STAY DC is a new rental assistance program that will utilize $350 million to address housing instability in the District. This funding will expand several established programs while adding additional assistance.

Bowser emphasized the importance of the program and its aim to help people stay in their homes amid the COVID-19 crisis.

“This program is aimed at helping people stay in their housing who have been impacted by COVID,” Bowser said.

The program will help DC residents facing housing instability pay up to 12 months in past due rent and utilities, and up to three months of forward rent and utilities.

To qualify for STAY DC, you must be a renter or housing provider in the District who is at risk, or has a tenant at risk, of not paying rent or utilities on a residential dwelling.

An applicant’s total 2020 annual household income, as set by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, may not exceed designated levels according to household size. For example, a family of four must make less than $79,600. Eligible households may receive up to 12 months of assistance going back to April 1, 2020, and 3 months of assistance for future payments at a time for a total of 18 months of assistance.

“Since the beginning of this pandemic, the District has prioritized meeting the needs of our neighbors who have been negatively impacted by our public health emergency,” said Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development John Falcicchio in a press release. “STAY DC will help us prevent housing instability by ensuring District residents can keep a roof over their heads and their utilities on, without sacrificing other basic needs.”

Renters and housing providers can begin submitting applications for rental and utility assistance today at stay.dc.gov. Applicants can call the STAY DC Call Center at 833-4-STAYDC for questions and support throughout their application process, Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Residents will also be able to work with Community Based Organizations (CBO) to submit paper applications.

Sarah Payne is a History and Neuroscience student at The University of Michigan interning with HillRag. She writes for and serves as an assistant news editor for Michigan’s student newspaper, The Michigan Daily. You can reach her at sarahp@hillrag.com. 

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