Rental Assistance Available for Eligible Arkansans Affected by COVID-19
There are two DHS programs offering rental assistance for Arkansas residents: the Arkansas Rent Relief Program and the Emergency Solutions Grant Program.
The Arkansas Rent Relief Program offers financial help to pay overdue and upcoming rent and utilities for eligible Arkansas renters. Landlords who have tenants unable to pay their rent because of lost income or the COVID-19 pandemic also may apply. The state of Arkansas has $173 million of federal funding for this program. Once an application is approved, money would go directly to landlords and utilities companies.
The Arkansas Rent Relief Program can now make payments directly to tenants if there is no matching application submitted by a landlord when payment is issued. This policy change will apply to all applications submitted since the program’s launch in May and all applications going forward if 10 days have passed and the landlord has not submitted any documentation. Outstanding tenant applications will be prioritized based on risk of eviction and then in the order in which they were submitted. Applications will be reviewed and processed within approximately 30 days. If an application is approved, funds will be distributed via the United States Postal Service directly to tenants with the expectation that the tenant will use the funds to pay the landlord.
To check the status of an application at any time, please log into your account here. Please do not submit a duplicate application if you have already submitted. Submitting a duplicate application may slow down application review times and increase how long it takes to receive funds.
Benton County, Pulaski County, and Washington County residents: Your county has its own rental assistance program and has requested residents to apply directly to the county program. Program information for your county can be found here:
• Pulaski County
• Washington County
• Benton County
- Overdue rent plus up to 5 percent of late fees dating back to April 1, 2020.
- Overdue utility bills for gas, water, and electricity. This program does not cover overdue phone or internet bills. (Click here to learn about a separate program that helps Arkansans pay for internet and broadband services.)
- Future rent owed through December 31, 2021. Renters can apply for up to three months of future rent at a time.
- Up to 15 months of rent may be covered between April 1, 2020 and December 31, 2021.
You may qualify for help paying your rent and utilities if:
- Someone in your home qualifies for unemployment benefits OR
- Your household income decreased during the pandemic OR
- Someone in your home suffered significant financial hardship due to the pandemic (i.e. lost a job, has extensive medical bills) AND
- You meet income eligibility based on the residing county (Area Median Income) and number of people in your home. A chart of Area Median Income is available by clicking here.
Renters need the following items to submit a request for utility or rent relief funding:
- Government-issued photo ID (i.e. driver’s license, state identification card)
- Proof of renting a home in Arkansas
- Proof of housing instability
- Proof of income for everyone in your home who file taxes
- Proof of financial loss of hardship due to COVID-19
- Landlord’s email and phone number
Find more information on required documents in the resources section below.
Landlords need the following documentation to submit a request for rent relief funding:
- Copy of lease
- Government issued photo ID
- Tenant’s email and phone number
Call 855.RENTARK (855.736.8275) if you need help submitting your application or have questions. Representatives are available Monday – Friday 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. DHS also has partnered with community organizations statewide that can help you submit your application. Click here to find a list of organizations near you.
DHS has the following resources to help you submit your application:
Also Available: COVID-19 Emergency Solutions Grant
This program is different than the Arkansas Rent Relief Program. The DHS Division of County Operations partnered with community organizations throughout the state to distribute Emergency Solutions Grant funds to eligible Arkansans who are homeless or at risk for homelessness due to the coronavirus pandemic. Organizations were awarded funds in three categories:
- Street Outreach: to engage those who are homeless and not staying in a shelter or other housing;
- Homelessness Prevention: offers rental assistance and other supports for those who are at risk of becoming homeless to allow them to stay in their homes or relocate;
- Rapid Re-Housing: help finding and paying for housing for those who are homeless and case management during the transition to stability;
- Emergency Shelter: support for shelter operations along with critical services to shelter residents such as child care, skills training, and transportation assistance.
A list of groups by county can be found here along with name of the person applicants in that county should contact is listed as the ESG contact for each group. You must apply for this funding through the organization in your county — not through DHS.