How To Get Your Past-Due Rent and Utilities Paid in Cincinnati

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how to get your past due rent paid with cares act funds

If the COVID-19 pandemic has put you in jeopardy of losing your housing, this post goes over how to get your past-due rent and utilities paid off.

I know it sounds too good to be true, but Ohio has a wonderful program available right now that you may qualify for.

Ohio Home Relief Program

The COVID-19 took a huge toll on so many people, including a lot of us right here in Cincinnati and the rest of Ohio.  Maybe you lost your job or you kept your job but hours got cut.  Perhaps you own a business and had to shut your doors during the pandemic.  It seems to have affected almost every industry, and so many people are still trying to recover financially.

That’s where the Ohio Home Relief Program can help!

What is the Ohio Home Relief Program?

On February 9, 2021, Governor Mike DeWine announced the Ohio Home Relief Grant.  This $100 million grant is to help Ohio residents impacted by the pandemic financially, and that have fallen behind on bill payments, facing eviction or utility shutoff.

What Does The Ohio Home Relief Program Cover?

If you qualify, the Home Relief Program will cover arrearages dating back to March 2020, on the following:

  • Rent or Mortgage Payments
  • Water, Sewage, and Trash
  • Electric
  • Gas or Heating Oil bills

eviction notice

Most agencies that help with rent or mortgage depend on outside donations or very limited public funds.  If you’re more than one month behind on your rent, you’re usually not going to have any luck with getting help.

Thanks to the Home Relief Program, as long as you qualify and submit the required documents, the grant will cover all of your arrearages.

How Do You Qualify For The Home Relief Program?

To get help with the Home Relief Program, you do have to meet certain qualifications.  They want to make sure the program is helping the people that need it most.

You must meet the following guidelines:

  • Be at 80% AMI, based on the last 30 days or 12 months (use the chart below to see if your income falls at or below the specified amount).
  • Experiencing hardship directly or indirectly related to the pandemic.
  • You must have a risk of housing instability or homelessness.
  • Had a reduction in income in 2020 or qualified for unemployment in 2020/2021.


AMI 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
80% $47,850 $54,650 $61,500 $68,300 $73,800 $79,250 $84,700 $90,200

Even though there was $100 million, that was approved in February and for the whole state of Ohio.  I don’t know how much longer this program will be around.

So, if you think you qualify, you should fill out the application today.

How Do You Sign Up For Ohio Home Relief Program?

Now that you know about qualifications and the help that can be provided, how do you sign up for Ohio Home Relief Program in Cincinnati?

Community Action Agency Emergency Rent Assistance 2021

Community Action Agency is now processing applications online and by mail.  Since the pandemic, they are no longer accepting walk-ins or providing in-person interviews.  However, they have set up an online portal to make applying for rent assistance much easier.

Community Action Agency’s Online Portal – Apply for rent & utility assistance at

CAA’s Online Application Portal

The fastest way to get help paying your rent is by using Community Action Agency’s online application portal here.

This is also where you will find everything you need to know about their Emergency Rent Assistance program using the Home Relief Grant funds.  You’ll find:

  1. Landlord Registration Portal – Landlords can register and add properties, set up direct deposit (if applicable)
  2. List of eligibility requirements –  See if you qualify for help with your rent, utilities, and internet.
  3. Check My Status link – Find out where your application is in the approval process or if more information is needed.
  4. Type of Help Available – Depending on your circumstances, CAA could:
    1. Bring your rent and utilities current
    2. Pay up to 3 months of your future rent
    3. Provide a stipend payment for your internet service

As you can see, this is a wonderful opportunity for you to get your bills caught up and have a fresh start.  Don’t delay with applying!

Mailing Your Application For Rent & Utility Assistance

If you prefer to mail your application, be sure to send all of the required documents for faster processing.  You can find a list of documents needed on their portal by clicking “Tenants Apply Today”, then click “Document Checklist”.  Once you have your documents together, mail your application to:

ATTN: CAA Emergency Rent Assistance 2021
1740 Langdon Farm Road
Cincinnati, Ohio  45237

Hamilton County Job & Family Services Emergency Rental Assistance

You can also fill out an application through Hamilton County Job and Family Services, offering emergency rental assistance with CARES Act funding.

Information About Applying For Rent Assistance with HCJFS

Job and Family Services has created a webpage with details about applying for the rental assistance program, which can be accessed here.

You’ll find all of the details about the qualifications and necessary documents to apply.  Here is what you will need before applying, according to their website:

Document List to apply for rent assistance –

Once you have your documents together, fill out the application for assistance here.

Call United Way at 211 For Help Applying Without A Computer

If you are not tech-savvy or don’t have access to a computer to apply, call United Way 211 Care Navigators.  They will help explain the application process, explain how and where to get the required documents and even complete the application for you.

How Does the Landlord Get Paid?

No matter which way you choose to apply, your landlord will have to be verified in order for funds to be disbursed.

Your landlord will be required to fill out:

  • Landlord Rent Verification Form – verifies your monthly rent amount, back-rent owed, any late fees and legal fees
  • W-9 form or Landlord Vendor Form – verifies their Federal Taxpayer Identification number or social security number
  • Direct Deposit Verification Form – official form that will have to be verified by their bank representative

Help Is Available In Cincinnati For Catching Up Rent & Avoiding Eviction

Getting behind on your bills can be a stressful, and even embarrassing, situation to be in.  Fortunately, if your situation is due to the pandemic – directly or indirectly – help is available in Cincinnati.  Put your pride aside and check out one of the resources in this post to get your rent and utilities caught up so that you can have a fresh start, with a clean slate.

If you have any comments or questions about the Ohio Home Relief Program, or any of the resources in this post, feel free to leave a comment below and I will get back to you with an answer.

Please share this post on social media using the buttons below, to help your friends, family and neighbors in Cincinnati that may need this information.

Thanks for reading!!

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