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More than 36,000 Michigan renter households helped through CERA program

Media Contacts:
Katie Bach,
Anna Vicari,

October 1, 2021

More than 36,000 Michigan renter households helped through CERA program
State exceeds federal target with $425 million spent or obligated -- and help is still available

Lansing, Mich. - The state has surpassed the 65% obligation threshold set by the U.S. Department of the Treasury for $622 million in rental relief sent to Michigan from the coronavirus aid package passed in December 2020.

The Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) estimates $425 million has been spent or obligated by the September 30 deadline through its COVID Emergency Rental Assistance (CERA) program. This includes over $235 million in rental and utilities assistance distributed to over 36,000 households and $25 million in case management, legal services, and administrative costs.

"The CERA program has been a vital resource for individuals and families across the state, helping them maintain a high level of housing stability as they continue to navigate the impact of the pandemic on their lives," said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. "The state, its partners and local resource agencies have worked tirelessly to meet the needs of Michiganders, and exceeding this threshold ensures we can continue to provide much-needed aid to those who need it most."

Michigan had to obligate $405 million to meet the 65% requirement outlined in the federal relief bill. Hitting the 65 percent threshold means the state -- which most recently ranked 12th in the nation in spending for emergency rental assistance -- could qualify for more rental relief funding.

Program expenditures have steadily climbed each month since the program launched:

  • April: $11 million
  • May: $28 million
  • June: $34 million
  • July: $42 million
  • August: $52 million
  • September: $63-65 million (projected)

Another $20 million is currently being processed for payment and $70 million has been obligated for future case management, legal services and administrative needs, as well as $80 million committed for additional rent and utility assistance.

"At MSHDA, we've seen firsthand the positive difference housing stability can make on the lives of Michiganders from every walk of life across the state," said Kelly Rose, MSHDA's chief housing solutions officer. "CERA has and will continue to offer peace of mind for renters wondering whether they will have a roof over their head tomorrow, next week, or next month while also helping landlords make ends meet by recouping owed rent."

MSHDA launched CERA in March 2021 to serve renter households that have incomes less than 80% of Area Median. Renters or landlords can initiate the application process. Free legal aid is also available through the CERA program. For more information or to apply, visit