Rent-assistance from the Department of Social Services for families varies from state to state. Typically, DSS requires documentation of the financial crisis, and a family must meet other eligibility criteria before receiving rental assistance.
In North Carolina, for instance, a family must provide documentation of all income and must be 200 percent below the poverty line to receive assistance with rent. In some states, including New York, families that have been served an eviction notice or those who are homeless may be eligible for cash assistance to pay rent. In some cases, DSS may pay the entire amount due for rent or mortgage.
Some states, such as Maryland, examine each application for emergency rental assistance, then base the amount provided to each family on the specific financial situation of the applicant. For instance, a family with no income may receive funding to cover the full amount of past due rent, while those with some income may receive a portion of the rent arrears.
In addition to providing assistance for rent arrears, DSS may also provide assistance with security deposits on a new rental home or provide assistance with moving costs. Each application for assistance with housing must be accompanied by photo identification, Social Security numbers for each family member and proof of the family's income, as well as any additional documentation requested by DSS.