State of Georgia Rental Assistance Program
- Basic Info
The Georgia Department of Community Affairs will begin administering the State of Georgia Rental Assistance Program (GRA) on March 8, 2021. GRA can help renters with their past due rent and utilities. Payment will be made directly to landlords and utility providers. More information on program details and how to apply will be added to this page as soon as the online application portal is ready. Below are some of the federal guidelines for the program. Financial assistance is being made available through this program to eligible tenants, their landlords, and utility providers to cover activities including rent arrears, current and future rent payments, and utility arrears payments.
Who is eligible?
GRA can serve renter households in Georgia who meet the following conditions:
- Qualified for unemployment benefits OR experienced a reduction in household income, incurred significant costs, or experienced other financial hardship due directly or indirectly to COVID-19;
- Demonstrates a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability;
Has a household income at or below 80 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI), Households with incomes that fall below 50% AMI, and households where one or more household members have been unemployed for 90 days or longer leading up to application will be prioritized.
Click Here to see the AMI for your area. You will need to select the button that states “Click Here for FY 2020 IL Documentation” and then select your State and County to see a chart based upon household size.
What documents will a tenant need to show eligibility?
Renters will need the following general types of documents/items (e.g., copies, pictures, screenshots, etc.) along with their electronically signed, fully completed application. The application and portal will specify the actual documents required.
- Identification (State ID or a passport)
- Income documents for every adult (age 18 and older) in the household and unearned income attributable to a minor
- Past due rent notice or past due utility bills
- Copy of the lease
- If applying for utility assistance in addition to rent, copies of your most recent utility bills showing the amount owed, the utility provider and account number
- Signed attestation of COVID-19 hardship will be required within the application portal to determine eligibility.
What documents will the landlord need to provide?
- Completed GRA Landlord Statement of Delinquent Rent
- Proof of ownership or Authorization/Agreement to act on behalf of owner if management company
- W-9 and bank information for ACH payment
Who is not eligible?
- Renter households that have incomes above 80% of Area Median Income.
- Renter households that cannot show a ‘COVID-19 hardship’ or risk of homelessness or housing instability through an eviction notice or a past due rent statement.
- Renter households that receive a monthly federal subsidy (e.g. Housing Choice Voucher, Public Housing, Project Based Section 8) where the tenant rent is adjusted according to changes in income may not receive GRA assistance.
How much rent can you pay?
Recipients of assistance may receive up to 12 months of rental and utility arrears, which includes a maximum of three months of future rental assistance if needed, and funding is available, to ensure housing stability. The amount of assistance for each household is limited to $15,000, and the amount of forward rent is limited to 3 months at this time. The payment of existing housing-related arrears that could lead to eviction of the tenant is prioritized before any future assistance can be provided, and no assistance with future rent can be provided unless the arrearage is also addressed. Total months included in arrearage will be factored into total 12 months of assistance. Applications for future rent payments, where no back rent is owed at the time of application, are not being accepted at this time. No arrearages may be addressed prior to March 13, 2020, which was the date that the federal emergency declaration was issued.
I have fallen behind on my rent, what can I do now until the program starts?
Talk to your landlord and let them know about this program. Also, start looking at the documentation requirements and begin collecting them so that you will have them ready once the application process starts. All documents showing evidence of income, including any public benefits, should be gathered. The CDC Eviction Moratorium has been extended until March 31, 2021, meaning that no one should be evicted solely for non-payment of rent until that date. Visit GeorgiaLegalAid.org for more information.
Which Jurisdictions in Georgia does GRA cover?
Treasury recently awarded funds to the State of Georgia AND to counties or cities with over 200,000 people. Counties or cities with over 200,000 people are setting up their own programs to cover their local jurisdictions. Some are offering assistance currently, and others will launch by the beginning of April. DCA has no jurisdiction over those programs.
During the initial rollout of this program, GRA anticipates covering all jurisdictions with the exception those areas receiving their own funding.
Why not fund everywhere from the start?
Treasury has released extensive policy guidance that states and local governments are expected to follow. The decision to not fund state-wide from day one is designed to comply with this guidance.
What areas are receiving their own funding?
Atlanta City, Augusta-Richmond County Consolidated Government, Chatham County, Cherokee County, Clayton County, Cobb County, DeKalb County, Forsyth County, Fulton County, Gwinnett County, Hall County, and Henry County.
Please note that many of these local jurisdictions have run other rental assistance programs previously. This is new money that is coming in most communities AFTER February of 2021.
If you are in one of these jurisdictions, you may wish to contact your local government for more information. If/when DCA is able to provide rental assistance to these jurisdictions, more information will be provided at that time. DCA anticipates providing rental assistance in these areas at a later date if funds are available.