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COVID Emergency Rental Assistance (CERA)

As of 9:00 p.m. on June 30, 2022, the COVID Emergency Rental Assistance (CERA) portal is closed to new applications. If you have already applied, you can check your application status by clicking the button below.

Applications are still being accepted for tenants with an active eviction case where the district court has already issued a Summons and Complaint. Tenants with a Summons and Complaint should contact their CERA partner agency listed for their county on our CERA Contact List to get an invitation to apply from our online application portal or to complete a paper application. Tenants can also contact their local Legal Services agency by using www.michiganlegalhelp.org to start the CERA application process. If you have already applied, you can check your application status by clicking the button below.

 

Check Application Status

 

Applications submitted before the portal closure will continue to be reviewed and processed until all program funds are used. It is likely that more applications have been received than will be able to be funded, so a submitted application does not guarantee that there will be funds available to process the application.

Attention Wayne County residents:  If you have not already applied for CERA and need rental assistance, the Wayne County Emergency Rental Assistance Program is open for applications at Wayne County Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) | Economic DevelopmentPlease be aware that you cannot receive assistance from both CERA and Wayne County’s program for the same time period.

If you did not submit a CERA application and need information and referral, please contact your local CERA Partner Agency.  Please see the CERA Contact Agency List for the service agency in your county (on the right side of this page under CERA Resources.)

View our dashboard to see CERA application and approval information statewide and by county. We also have demographic and household income information on our approved applications. Check it out to see how CERA is serving renters and landlords in your area. [ See the CERA dashboard... ]

 

CERA RESOURCES

CERA FAQ's
CERA Income Limits
CERA Contact List Most offices are not taking walk-in clients.

 

WHO IS ELIGIBLE?

CERA serves renter households that have incomes less than 80% of Area Median Income (AMI) who meet the following conditions:

  • Individual(s) in the household has qualified for unemployment benefits or has experienced a reduction in household income, incurred significant costs, or has experienced other financial hardship due directly or indirectly to the coronavirus outbreak; and
  • Individual(s) in the household can demonstrate a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability by being past due on rent.

HOW DO I APPLY?

  • Use the secure online application portal ("Apply Now" button above) to submit your application for assistance.
  • This is the best way to apply for those that have a smart phone, tablet, or computer. Tenants and landlords can also apply through their local service agency.
  • If you cannot apply online, please see the CERA Contact List for the service agency in your county (at the top of this page under CERA Resources).

WHAT TENANT DOCUMENTS ARE REQUIRED TO DETERMINE ELIGIBILITY?

  • Completed CERA Tenant application.
  • Copy of state ID or passport for the tenant applicant (with proof of residency if address does not match the unit.) (Alternate IDs may be acceptable some circumstances)
  • Most current copy of lease agreement in tenant's name (if a written lease was completed.)
  • Provide all available proof of earned and unearned income for household members that live at the property and that are over the age of 18.
    • Pay stubs or benefit statements for household income or benefits (unemployment, Social Security, etc.) for two weeks, OR
    • Copy of submitted 2020 or 2021 IRS form 1040 (first two pages)
  • Copy of ALL utility statements the tenant is responsible for, if applicable.
  • Copy of Internet bill/statement, if applicable.

 

WHAT DOCUMENTS WILL THE LANDLORD NEED TO PROVIDE?

Landlords will need to provide:

  • Completed CERA Landlord Application
  • Copy of the lease (if a written lease was completed)
  • Ledger showing tenant's payment history in 2020 and 2021
  • W-9
  • Verification of court costs, if applicable
  • Landlords may be asked to provide ownership documents if ownership can't be verified through publicly available online property tax records

WHO IS NOT ELIGIBLE?

  • Households that have incomes above 80% of Area Median Income.
  • Households that cannot show a "COVID-19 economic hardship" (outlined above) or risk of homelessness or housing instability.
  • Households that are homeowners, land contract holders or those that live in commercial properties.
  • Renter households that were not behind rent before March 30, 2022.

MY LANDLORD HAS FILED FOR EVICTION. CAN I GET LEGAL ASSISTANCE FOR MY COURT CASE?

Yes, free legal assistance is available with the CERA program. Please go to www.michiganlegalhelp.org to get connected to a legal services agency in your area.

CAN I GET HELP WITH MY UTILITIES?

Yes, eligible households for CERA can receive utility assistance for tenant supplied electricity, home heating (any type of fuel), water, sewer and trash (if billed along with another utility).

As of January 1, 2022, MSHDA will not be approving households that are solely behind on their utilities.  These households should apply for utility assistance through MDHHS at MI Bridges.

Utility Assistance

Household Size

Maximum Total One Time Utility Payment
(Includes Future Payment)

Maximum Future Utility Payment as a Credit

1-2 persons

$1,500

$300

3-4 persons

$2,000

$500

5+ persons

$2,500

$500

Tenants up to 50% AMI are eligible for an additional $500 if needed to fully pay utility arrears.

HOW MUCH RENTAL ASSISTANCE CAN I RECEIVE?

  • Up to 50% AMI-up to 18 months of rental assistance
  • 50-80% AMI-up to 16 months of rental assistance
  • Tenants may apply for an additional 3 months of rental assistance if necessary, for housing stability so long as this does not exceed the 16 or 18-month maximums
  • CERA program can only pay rent through September 30, 2022.  Rent due after this time frame is not eligible for CERA payment and must be paid by the tenant.

IS THERE ANY LIMIT ON HOW MUCH PER MONTH I CAN RECEIVE?

Yes, the program limit is 150% of the HUD Fair Market Rent based on your home size and county.

I NEED HELP PAYING FOR HOME INTERNET, IS THAT COVERED IN THE PROGRAM?

Yes, a flat $300 internet stipend is available for households that have home internet and include a recent internet bill/statement in their application package. The $300 payment will be made to either the Internet service provider or the tenant.

LOCAL PROGRAM ADMINISTRATION

Based on consultation with MSHDA, local programs may administer the CERA program with additional rules to coincide with existing local codes/ordinances so long as these additional rules do not conflict with US Treasury regulations or slow the pace of serving eligible tenants and landlords.

PRIORITIZATION OF HOUSEHOLDS

The federal Emergency Rental Assistance Program requires a prioritization of assistance for households with incomes less than 50% of area median income or households with one or more individuals that have not been employed for the 90-day period preceding the date of application. MSHDA has implemented this prioritization by reserving 70% of CERA program funds for these households as well as allowing the full 18-months of assistance. Households that are not within this priority group are only eligible for 16-months of assistance.

MY LANDLORD HAS FILED FOR EVICTION. CAN I GET LEGAL ASSISTANCE FOR MY COURT CASE?

Please go to www.michiganlegalhelp.org to get connected to a legal services agency in your area.