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How to Get Emergency Rental Assistance for Free

Mandy and her partner had just found their footing after moving across the country. Then an unexpected expense took a huge bite out of their budget and left them needing emergency rental assistance.

“My car failed inspection, and to pass I needed a $1,000 repair,” Mandy recalls. “I had 10 days to get it fixed and our rent was due next week.”

Mandy and her partner were already barely getting by. They both had low-paying jobs. Mandy’s paycheck was dependent on how many shifts she could pick up at the grocery store where she worked. It was either pay their $850 rent, or fix her car.

Reluctantly, Mandy reached out to her mother for help.

“We didn’t know what else to do,” Mandy says. “If I couldn’t drive my car, I couldn’t get to work.”

Mandy’s struggle is not unique. Many people are only one emergency expense away from not being able to cover their basic bills. In fact, a recent study by the United Way Alice Project found that a whopping 43% of US households can’t pay their monthly expenses (including housing, food, transportation, child care, health care and a monthly smartphone bill). The largest of these expenses is usually rent.

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