Need help with rent or utilities? Check out the STAY DC program

This content is sponsored by DC DMPED.

Assistance with rent and utilities is still available after The District achieves a federal milestone for Emergency Rental Assistance.

Restaurants and other public spaces may be easing their COVID restrictions, but that doesn’t mean the impacts of the pandemic are fading equally fast for everybody. Many families, especially in the DC area, have found themselves in dire economic straits due to pandemic-fueled pay cuts or layoffs, both temporary and permanent. That’s why Mayor Muriel Bowser, along with the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development, launched Stronger Together by Assisting You (STAY DC), a program providing relief money for rent and utility assistance.

So far, the District has provided nearly $143 million in rent and utility assistance to District residents using federal Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) Funds. Through spending on the Stronger Together by Assisting You (STAY DC) program and other eligible uses, the District has met the United States Department of Treasury requirement to spend 65% of the District’s initial $200 million allocation (amounting to $130 million) of ERA funds by September 30, 2021. That means the District will avoid having any remaining funds swept and reallocated, making the District eligible for more rental assistance funding in the future.

Through STAY DC, renters and housing providers can apply for grant funding to cover past and future rental payments in addition to utilities like water and electricity. Through STAY DC alone, the District has helped over 15,000 District residents with nearly $97 million in rent and utility assistance. According to data provided by the United States Department of Treasury through the end of July, the District is #1 per capita among all states administering ERA for amount of funds disbursed. The District is #3 among all states after Texas and Virginia in percent of allocation spent.

“We applaud the tireless efforts of our team members, community partners, and advocates who have encouraged the residents who need us most to apply for this resource and focus on their family’s comeback from the pandemic and its economic impacts,” said Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development John Falcicchio. “This also is a reminder to residents that Mayor Bowser has your back.”

Since launching STAY DC, the District has made several enhancements to the program and website to make it easier for applicants. Those include regular updates to tenants on the status of their application, adding calendar of events where residents can find in-person application support in their neighborhood and adding functionality to the applications for applicants to easily provide self-attestation. The District also opened daily in-person application resource centers at the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) and the Mayor’s Office of Latino Affairs for Spanish language applicants. Residents have also worked with Community Based Organizations (CBO) to submit paper applications.

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.

Renters and housing providers can still submit applications for rental and utility assistance today at or in-person at several pop-up events and application clinics throughout the city listed at Applicants can call the STAY DC Call Center at 833-4-STAYDC for support throughout their application process, Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. The STAY DC program is administered by the Department of Human Services (DHS) in collaboration with the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED), the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services (DMHHS), and the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD).

More information, including eligibility requirements, can be found at

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