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STAY DC is a financial assistance program for D.C. renters and housing providers who are looking for support to cover housing and utility expenses and offset the loss of income. Join us to learn how to receive money you can use to help you pay for your rent, gas, water, and electricity.


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Stay DC

Rent and utility
assistance when
you need it.

Are you struggling with paying rental
expenses? Request financial help today.

STAY DC can help you pay your rent and utilities


STAY DC is a financial assistance program for D.C. renters and housing providers who are looking for support to cover housing and utility expenses and offset the loss of income. Apply today to receive money you can use to help you pay for your rent, gas, water, electricity and internet.


In-person application assistance is available Monday through Friday at the DC Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) Housing Resource Center from 8:30am to 3:30 pm at 1800 Martin Luther King Jr., Ave., SE and the Mayor’s Office of Latino Affairs (for Spanish language applicants) from 9 am to 5 pm at 2000 14th St., NW Suite 206.

In-person services are available on a first-come, first-serve basis at both locations but appointments are encouraged for residents wishing to apply at DHCD and appointments can be made online or by calling DHCD at (202) 442-7200 and pressing option 8 between 8:15 am and 4:45 pm.

Additionally, a calendar of events is available for other in-person assistance opportunities throughout the city including application assistance pop up events.

Program Benefits




Funding can be used to pay unpaid rent going back to April 1, 2020



Money can be used to pay forward rent, up to 3 months at a time



Water, gas, electricity and internet expenses can be paid on your behalf



Housing support is available for up to 18 months, per tenant

Am I Eligible?

In order to be eligible for this program, you must be a renter or resident of a limited equity cooperative in Washington, D.C. who meets household income requirements, has a financial hardship during COVID-19 and faces housing instability. Housing providers may also initiate an application for a residential tenant they feel may qualify.


Household Income

Total 2020 household income is less than or equal to the income requirements with household size/total household income OR total household income for the last 2 months multiplied by 6 does not exceed the income levels here.



Financial Hardship

Household member(s), who due to the COVID-19 pandemic, have experienced a reduction in income or incurred significant costs


Housing Instability

Households who have past due rent or utilities, or pay more than 50% of household income on rent


You do not have to be
behind on rent and utilities
to apply. Don't wait.

How to Apply




Prior to beginning your application, confirm that you are eligible



Review the "Prepare to Apply" section and compile the necessary documentation



Click the "Apply Now" button and enter your information

Apply Now




Sign into your account and track as your application is processed

Sign In


For Residential Tenants

In addition to filling out the application questions, including providing an email and phone number for your housing provider, a complete application will require the following types of documents to be uploaded:


Proof of Rent


Proof of Household Eligibility


Proof of Income


Proof of Need for Rent Assistance


Proof of Need for Utility Assistance


For Housing and Utility Providers

Housing and utility providers play a critical role by helping connect renters and customers in need with the assistance available through the STAY DC Program. Housing Providers can initiate an application and provide a valid email address for your tenant so that an automated notification can be sent to them to separately provide household information in the tenant portal. If you have a renter or customer who needs assistance with past due rent or utility payments, you can:


Share Information

Share information about the program and the application process with your tenant or customer, including your email and phone number.


Provide Access

If you have on-site computers, create opportunities for tenants to use them for applying.


Recommend Assistance

Remind tenants and customers they can have a family member, friend, or a designated Community Based Organization (CBO) assist them in completing the application.

Frequently Asked Questions

What income requirements apply?

To qualify, your total annual household income should be equal to or less than 80% of the Area Median Income in the District as illustrated in the table below:

Table 1. Household Size
Total household income is less than or equal to:

1 $57,650
2 $65,850
3 $74,100
4 $82,300
5 $88,900
6 $95,500
7 $102,100
8 $108,650

How is my household income determined?

Household income is determined as one of the following:

  • Total household income for calendar year 2020 using the Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) as noted on your Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Form 1040 series for individual Federal annual income tax purposes; or
  • Total household monthly income at the time of application for at least the two months prior to application submission. If this method is used to determine income eligibility, applicants will need to recertify their income every 3 months for any award extensions applied for by the applicant.

What are eligible sources of household income?

Eligible sources of household income are salary, wage, tips, commissions, business income, interest, dividend, Social Security, annuities, insurance policies, retirement funds, pensions, disability or death benefits, unemployment and disability compensation, workers compensation and severance pay, and Welfare Assistance Payments.

For how many months may I apply for rental assistance?

You may potentially apply for up to 12 months of back rent (no earlier than April 1, 2020) and up to three months of future rent from the date of application submission. Once your initial application is approved, you may apply for extensions in the future but cannot receive more than a total of 18 months of assistance.

How much rental assistance will I be eligible to receive?

At this time, applicants are eligible to receive rental assistance up to verifiable amounts. No maximum amounts have been set as long as requested amounts can be proved to be valid and due. In the future, however, additional prioritization of funds or funding limits may be instituted to ensure that there is equitable distribution to those disproportionately affected by the pandemic or those demonstrating greater than average need for assistance.

How will I know my application has been received and can I check the status?

Please refer to the Application User Guide (Tenant or Landlord) on for instructions on how to check your application status online. You will receive email notifications at various stages, including: (1) account creation; (2) application submission; (3) application decision; and (4) fund disbursement.

How will I be notified if I am awarded funding?

Award decisions will be announced via email. An award letter will not be sent, so the email will serve in its place. Please ensure the email address you provide in your application is entered correctly.

Who will receive the rent or utility assistance payment?

The rental assistance payment will be mailed directly to the landlord or utility provider. If a landlord does not wish to participate, funds may be paid directly to the eligible household, if approved.

Will I be required to pay the money back in the future?

No, as long as the applicant complies with the terms and conditions of the program.

Do I have to be a U.S. citizen or a legal resident alien to apply for assistance?

No. This program is open to all rental households in the District regardless of current citizenship status.

What if I already receive rental assistance through another program?

You may still be eligible. This Emergency Rental Assistance may only be used to pay for the rent and utility costs that are not already paid by you or paid for by other rental assistance programs.

What if I have paid my rent so far but I have struggled to do so and I worry I won’t be able to in the future?

You may still be eligible for assistance with future rent payments based on your income and situation.

Can I apply for assistance if I sublet or live with roommates?

Yes, ONLY if your name is on the lease or sublease or if you are applying for assistance for the portion of rent for which you are responsible. A roommate named on the lease may also apply for assistance for the portion of rent for which the roommate is responsible. All other eligibility criteria must also be met for each applicant and you will be asked for documentation of this responsibility or past payments.

Will the payment amount(s) I receive be considered taxable income?

According to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Emergency Rental Assistance is intended to help eligible households that require financial assistance to pay for rent, utilities, home energy expenses, and other related expenses, and the payments are excluded from income only for those households. Rental payments and/or utility payments you receive, whether from a customer or from a distributing entity on the customer’s behalf, should be included in calculating your gross income. See

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Other Assistance Programs


The District is working hard to ensure residents have access to resources to help them stay in their homes. Here are some additional resources to assist with mortgage payments, food assistance, business support, and legal services.



Public Reporting Disclosure:
The District of Columbia will issue public reports on the use of funds, however, no personally identifiable information on the Tenants or Landlords participating in this program will be published.