The Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) program makes available $158 million to assist Nebraska low-income households that are unable to pay rent and utilities due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This program is only available for renters with a lease agreement.
Homeowners are not eligible for the Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) Program.
The program is currently open and applications will be accepted through August of 2021 for payment through the end of November 2021. Additional funds may be available based on the reallocation of funds by the federal government.
To be eligible, applicants must be a
- Nebraska resident, not living in Douglas and Lancaster Counties
- Contracted in a current residential lease or rental agreement
- Household within the income guidelines, or below the 80% of County Area Median Income
- U.S. citizen or legal resident alien
- Renter whose landlord is not an immediate family member
In addition, renters must answer YES to ONE of the following conditions:
- Prove they are unable to pay all or part of your monthly rent due to a COVID-19 financial hardship by qualifing for unemployment, have experienced a reduction in household income, or incurred significant costs)
- Showing a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability such notice receiving a past due notice, proof of non-payment of rent, or eviction notice)
Funds may be used to pay for rent and utility expenses up to $20,000 during the life of the program.
- Eligible renters may apply for up to 12 months of back rent (no earlier than April 1, 2020) and up to three months of future rent from the date of application submission
- Once the initial application is approved, renters may apply for additional support in the future, but cannot receive more than a total of 15 months of assistance
- Late fees specified in the lease are eligible expenses but will be limited to no more than 10% of approved rent paid, so long as the total assistance per household does not exceed the maximum assistance available.
Eligible Utility expenses include
- Trash and removal services and
- Energy Costs such as fuel oil
Currently, the review process may take between 4-6 weeks from the time an application is submitted to reach a funding decision. Applications will be prioritized for review which may reduce this timeframe. The state appreciates patience during this time and asks that applicants check their application status online. Renters will receive an email notification as soon as a review decision has been made.
The review timeframe is dependent upon the completeness of the application. Please make certain all sections are complete and all documentation is uploaded before submitting the application. Failure to do so may result in processing delays. Renters can NOT edit their application once submitted and so should review the user guide in its entirety before working on the application at https://mcrcares.servicenowservices.com/nebraska_rental_assistance
Under this program eligible households can obtain assistance for rent due from April 1, 2020 through November 30, 2021.
The Application User Guide provides instructions for navigating the online application portal, lists the questions to be found on the online application form, and outlines the documents and information renters will need to complete the application process.
In order to complete the application, renters will need to upload the following documentation:
- Proof of being financially impacted by the COVID-19 (e.g., employment verification of loss of employment, unemployment, etc.)
- Current lease or rental agreement
- Driver’s license or other Government issued photo ID for head of household
- Proof of current income of all household members who file income taxes (e.g., recent pay stubs, layoff letter, unemployment claim, contribution statement, etc.)
- (If applicable,) supporting information for additional months of assistance (e.g., rent statement, rent notices showing balance of rent owed, etc.
By completing the application, Landlords and Tenants agree that they will comply with all applicable program eligibility and compliance requirements and that they will be subject to oversight monitoring and/or audit from the State of Nebraska, The Treasury Office of Inspector General or their designees. Confirmed instances of non-compliance may result in recoupment of funds and/or suspension from participating in current and future assistance programs.
These eligibility compliance agreements include:
- Agreeing to comply with the Grant Agreement Requirements and Conditions including but not limited to complying with all applicable federal law, regulations, executive orders, policies, procedures, and directives
- The State of Nebraska will issue public reports on the use of funds, no personally identifiable information on the Tenants or Landlords participating in this program will be published.
- Confirmation that application contains complete and accurate information
- Landlord acceptance of terms, including acceptance of payment for back rent as payment in full, withdrawal of any previously provided seven-day notice and agreement not to evict renter based on back rents or during months of future rent paid through the program.