by Aidan Kang, CFA
Senior Writer
UPDATED: October 13, 2022

Are you struggling to make your rent? Well, you’re not alone. According to a recent report, over 24 million Americans did not have enough money to pay their August 2020 rent due to the coronavirus pandemic. Many people have lost their jobs or had business difficulties while some Americans faced financial emergencies and had to allocate their rent money for these purposes.

If you don’t have money to pay your rent this month or in the following months, there are different options that you can look at. You can either get a loan to cover your rent or you can also get government assistance to help you not get evicted.

In this article, we are going to provide you with various options on where you can get a loan to help pay your rent. But before that, we are also going to list some ways on how you can get rent assistance that you do not have to pay back.

Where Can I Get Help with Rent If I Am Unemployed?

While there may be available rent loans for unemployed people, many of these are typically high-interest short-term payday loans that you have to repay in just two to four weeks. If you have lost your job and you’re only depending on minimal savings or unemployment benefits, chances are, you will not immediately find the money to pay back your loan. If you are in danger of defaulting, your only choice would be to roll-over your loan or extend it by borrowing again and paying more fees.

Before going into a downward debt spiral, you can first look at rent assistance programs offered by the government agencies and charitable organizations to see if you can qualify. These assistance programs will not expect you to pay back the money given to you.

1. 211 Rent Assistance

If you are in danger of getting evicted, try calling 211 to get help with rent. The 211 service is available to over 300 million Americans (94% of the population). When you dial 211, you will get information about relevant organizations and agencies that could help you in your crisis.

There are different types of referrals offered by this service and these include shelter and rent assistance which fall under basic human needs resources. Calling 211 is like a shortcut that will connect you to the other rent assistance programs in this list. You can also dial 211 if you need help with food, paying the utilities, or healthcare.

2. Get Rent Assistance through the Housing Choice Voucher Program

Formerly known as Section 8, the Housing Choice Voucher Program (HCV) delivers rent assistance to low-income families, the elderly, and disabled people. The goal of the program is to be able to provide safe and decent housing in the private market to the disadvantaged sectors of the community. The funds come from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Unlike public housing, recipients of the Housing Choice Vouchers can choose the house that they want to live in or even stay in the same house that they are already living in. Typically, renters have to pay only 40% of the rent and the remainder will be covered by the HCV Program. You can qualify for a Housing Choice Voucher if you meet the requirements set by your local Public Housing Agency in your state.

3. Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG) Program Rent Assistance

The Emergency Solutions Grants Program or ESG provides rental assistance to people who have experienced a housing crisis or homelessness. If you meet the requirements and are approved as a recipient, you can receive rental assistance from a grantee in your area. 

Short-term rent assistance lasts for 3 months while medium-term rent assistance can be between 3 and 24 months. You cannot, however, exceed 24 months as a recipient. One limitation of the ESG program is that grantees may not be available everywhere in the United States. You can check the program’s website to check if there is a grantee in your area.

4. Unemployment Benefits to Help Pay Rent

One of the most common reasons why you may be unable to pay your rent is because you lost your job. If you are unemployed, you should immediately check whether you are eligible to get unemployment benefits from the government. The maximum weekly amount that you could get will depend on your eligibility and your state of residence. The average is usually $300 to $500 per week. Some states like Massachusetts pay as much as $1,220 per week, Ohio $802, and Washington $790 a week.

While this amount may not seem much, getting unemployment benefits could help tide you over so you can pay for your basic expenses and help you cover your rent money. Having unemployment benefits could also be considered as an alternative source of income when applying for an emergency loan. Go to the  website to apply.

5. Federal Moratorium on Evictions

As a last resort, you can check if you are qualified under the recent federal order that seeks to temporarily halt residential evictions in the United States effective September 4, 2020 until December 31, 2020. This order was released by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under Section 361 of the Public Health Service Act. It was issued to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 virus.

There are certain conditions that you must meet in order to qualify under this moratorium. To check whether you qualify, you can follow the steps below.

  1. Read the full notice to see whether you are qualified
  2. If you are, download the declaration form here and sign it
  3. Provide the form to your landlord.

This declaration form will not erase your rent payments so you will still owe the landlord rent money. However, even if you do not pay on time, this could prevent your landlord from evicting you until the end of the year.

Where Can I Get An Emergency Loan To Help Me Pay My Rent?

Not everyone is eligible to receive government assistance to help them pay with rent. Maybe you have not lost your job but you are still short on cash. Or perhaps you had to use the money you’ve earmarked for rent to pay for other more urgent expenses. These situations can put you in a really tight spot. If you don’t want to get evicted, one option is to look for emergency payday loans for rent from direct lenders, payday loan companies, peer-to-peer sources, etc.

Below are different companies that offer loans to people who need rent assistance or any type of emergency loan. If you are employed and you generally have a good credit rating, you can get a good rate from some of the companies listed below. We’ve also listed some companies that accept unemployed individuals and those with a bad credit score.


Visit LoanNow

LoanNow is a lender offering online-only loans to people needing rent assistance. To qualify for a loan, you need to have a verifiable source of income or salary. According to their website, the application process only takes 5 minutes and you can get a quick decision whether you are approved or not. They said that they respond to nearly all their applicants within 24 hours and some approvals only take a few minutes. If you are approved, the money will be deposited into your bank account.

The amount you can borrow will depend on your individual eligibility but it can range from $1,000 to $10,000. One good thing about LoanNow is that these are installment loans that you can pay in 12 to 24 months. Unlike payday loans that you have to pay after a couple of weeks, it is more realistic to pay in smaller installment amounts. LoanNow claims that this could also help you build your credit score if you pay regularly. Another advantage is that if you want to prepay your loan before the agreed 12 to 24 months, you will not be charged a prepayment fee.


Visit SoFi

SoFi offers personal loans that you can use to help pay your rent. According to their website they don’t charge origination fees, no prepayment fees, no late fees, and fixed loan rates from 5.99% to 19.53% APR. For personal loans, you can borrow $5,000 to $10,000 and repay it from 2 to 7 years. As mentioned, you can pay it earlier if you have the money to do so and you will not incur a penalty. SoFi has eligibility requirements that include financial history, monthly income versus your expenses, and even your professional experience.

Because of these requirements, SoFi might not be a good choice for people who are unemployed or for someone who has a bad credit score. Instead, this could be a good option if you’re someone who has a job, has a decent credit score, but you just found yourself short on cash this time around. If you do not have a job right now but you can show a letter of employment to start within 90 days, you could also be eligible to get a loan from SoFi.


Visit Nation21Loans

Nation21Loans is a platform where you can get a loan for rent. This website connects borrowers to lenders based on their needs and credit profile. Nation21 offers personal loans, installment loans, and payday loans that can range from $100 to $10,000. The good news is that you don’t have to have a perfect credit score to qualify. All you need to do is fill up their application form and they claim that within minutes, you can get the best offers from lenders.

Of course, the downside is that you have to carefully check the offers to make sure that you are not being charged sky-high fees and interest rates. One advice is to go for installment loans if you are qualified rather than payday loans as you’ll get a better rate overall.


Visit CashUSA

CashUSA is an online platform that connects you with its network of lenders to help you get a personal loan. If you need money ASAP to help you pay rent, getting an online personal loan from CashUSA can be a fast and convenient option. You can borrow $500 to $10,000 and if you get approved, the money can be in your hands within one (1) business day. Because this is an installment loan, you can pay back the amount from 3 months to 72 months with an interest rate of 5.99% to 35.99%.

With CashUSA, you only have to show a monthly income of at least $1,000 to qualify so you can get an emergency loan even if you’re unemployed. This can be income from an alternative source like unemployment benefits, disability benefits, pension, or Social Security Income.

Getting Help to Pay for Your Rent

It is normal to find yourself needing financial help once in a while. During difficult times, getting a loan could be your only choice so you won’t get evicted from where you are living. But before getting a loan, make sure to exhaust all the other options like applying for financial assistance from government agencies or organizations. While this process might be more complicated and will require you to gather many requirements, it is still better than borrowing money you won’t be able to pay back. Only get a loan if you are confident that you will be able to pay it back, otherwise, you might get into more serious financial trouble in the future.