Posted and up to date on 2/23/2023
Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) Program
Maine State Housing Authority’s Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) Program provided money to help renters pay for rent, electric bills, or other expenses to help avoid homelessness.
Maine State Housing Authority stopped accepting applications for ERA as of September 30, 2022. This means you cannot apply for ERA with MSHA or any other agency in Maine.
If you applied for ERA before September 30th, 2022, you may be able to receive some money through this program to pay your rent and utilities. If you think you have completed an application for ERA and you are waiting for a decision or for a payment, you should contact Maine State Housing Authority or the agency where you applied. Any payment you receive will only be for rent and utilities you owe through December 2022 or earlier.
Am I eligible for ERA?
If you submitted a new application for ERA before September 30th, 2022, or you submitted a reassessment for another ERA payment before September 30, 2022, you may be eligible for assistance. Any payment you receive will only be for rent and utilities you owe through December 2022 or earlier. This is how the agencies decide if you are eligible:
- Your income is less than 50% of your Area Median Income. If you first applied before June 1st, 2022, you could qualify even if your income is up to 80% of your Area Median Income. If you got unemployment benefits after March 13, 2020, you do not need to meet the income limits.
- You have a financial hardship during the COVID pandemic. This may mean that you lost a job, had your work hours reduced, or had increased expenses.
- You are at risk of homelessness. This may mean that you have received an eviction notice, or that you had to borrow money to pay your rent, or that you are having trouble paying rent or other bills.
- You have not used more than 12 months of ERA already. But if you used more than 11 months but less than 18 months as of June 1st, 2022, you may be eligible for another 2 months. Ask the agency where you applied for ERA if you are uncertain about how many months you have used.
What expenses will ERA pay for?
- If you applied for the first time on or after June 1, 2022, ERA will only pay rent, back rent, electric bills, and security deposits.
- If you applied for ERA for the first time before June 1st, 2022 there may be other housing expenses ERA will pay (such as court fees, moving costs, and utility bills in addition to electricity).
In order for ERA to pay these expenses, you had to have requested them before September 20th, 2022.
Will ERA pay my rent if I live in subsidized housing?
Yes, people who live in subsidized housing are eligible for ERA. If you submitted a new application or a reassessment before September 30th, 2022, and you live in subsidized housing, you may be eligible for some assistance.
Can I get help paying my mortgage if I own my home?
No, this program is only available to renters. But, there is a different program for Maine homeowners.
What if my landlord won’t take the rental assistance?
You should let the agency that processed your application know if your landlord won’t accept it. They can then pay you the money to give to your landlord. If your landlord is trying to evict you, you should call Pine Tree Legal Assistance.
What if I am denied assistance or my landlord is trying to evict me?
You should call Pine Tree Legal Assistance for help.
What if I am living in a hotel?
ERA can pay a certain amount per night toward a hotel stay. If you have been living in a hotel for a long time, and the hotel has been treating you more like a tenant, than you may be a tenant with rights. They may not be allowed to treat you like a hotel guest. You may have the right to the protections that tenants have in the eviction process. Read more about your rights if you live in a hotel.
Is there any other funding available to help me pay rent and other necessary bills?
You can apply for General Assistance - read more about that here. If you are denied General Assistance, you should call Pine Tree Legal Assistance for help.
Important Resources to Prevent Eviction
Getting evicted? Worried you might be soon?
To learn more about your rights if you are being evicted, come to a live virtual information session with a PTLA attorney every Tuesday at 9 a.m.