WASHINGTON (WDVM) — District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser launched a new financial assistance program for District residents who are struggling to make rent and utility payments due to COVID-19. The program, Stronger Together by Assisting You (STAY DC), will provide $350 million in assistance.
The new program builds on multiple programs that are already in place in the District and expands other programs that have been put in place during the Public Health Emergency. STAY DC replaces the COVID-19 Housing Assistance Program (CHAP) and augments the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) and Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).
Through STAY DC, a person can have up to 12 months’ worth of back rent paid for them, and receive rent going forward for three months at a time. Officials are asking that people go ahead and sign up for the program.
“STAY DC provides an essential resource for residents in the District,” said DHS Director Laura Zeilinger. “We understand how important housing stability is to the wellbeing of our neighbors, especially during this unprecedented time, and STAY DC is a critical resource to help families who have suffered financially, keep their homes and meet their financial needs.”
Renters and housing providers can begin submitting applications for rental and utility assistance at stay.dc.gov, a user-friendly portal that provides a seamless and accessible process for renters and housing providers to facilitate requests for aid, as well as manage and track applications.
Applicants can call the STAY DC Call Center at 833-4-STAYDC for support throughout their application process, Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Residents will also be able to work with Community-Based Organizations (CBO) to submit paper applications.
On April 13 at 4 p.m., there will be a Q&A with District officials about the assistance program.