Covid Emergency Rental Assistance (CERA)​

Behind on your rent or utilities? Covid Emergency Rental Assistance (CERA) program can help!

The State of Michigan’s COVID Emergency Rental Assistance Program (CERA) is designed to keep Michigan residents who fell behind on their rent and utilities during the COVID-19 pandemic in their homes. The program utilizes a collaborative community process to expedite rental and utility assistance to COVID-19 affected tenants and their landlords.

Check the Oakland county zip code list for your designated agency based on your housing location.

Please call Community Housing Network 888-441-1742 and leave a message with your phone number.

How do I get started?  Please use the PORTAL located in the red box above!

To start the online application, either the Tenant or Landlord can initiate the process. Both tenant and landlords applications can be found in English, Spanish and Arabic here and the portal language can be changed when you start the process online. The Tenant or Landlord will need to enter the Tenant’s name, Tenant’s email address, Landlord’s email address and Tenant’s address. This will initiate emails to both the Tenant and Landlord for them to complete their portion of the application. CERA CHN staff will communicate via email with the Tenant and Landlord if additional information is needed. The Tenant and Landlord will receive notice via email when the case is processed and how much funding has been approved.

Tenant Documents needed in addition to application:

  1. Driver’s License, state ID or passport
  2. 1 month of income documents- 2020 IRS 1040, pay stubs from month, unemployment letters or SSI letters for all household members
  3. Past due rent or utility notice
  4. Food Assistance Program Notice of Case Action form (only applicable for households with 3 or less people).
  5. Copy of ALL utility statements the tenant is responsible for, if applicable.
    Copy of Internet bill/statement, if applicable.

Landlord documents needed in addition to application:

  1. Copy of the lease (if a written lease was completed)
  2. Ledger showing tenant’s payment history in 2020 and 2021
  3. W-9

Once all the required information is uploaded, an assigned casemanager will reach out to you to determine eligibility and discuss next steps. As we are experiencing a high volume of applications and must also prioritize those tenants with an active court case, we ask that you please be patient!

Who can Apply?  Landlords or tenants can apply via the portal link above.  Applications can be found here, or a printed copy can be picked up outside our Troy location at 5505 Corporate Drive, Troy 48098.

  • CHN will work with tenants and landlords to provide rental, utility and internet assistance for eligible renter households.
  • Legal services for renters involved in the court system will be provided by local legal aid organizations funded by grants made through the Michigan State Bar Foundation.

If you are having trouble with the portal and need assistance with filling out the application or uploading documents, please call Community Housing Network 888-441-1742 or 248-824-7425 and leave a message with your phone number.

Who qualifies?  CERA can serve renter households that have incomes less than 80% of Area Median Income (in Oakland county that is below $62,800 a year for a family of 4, or under $44,000 for a single) AND who meet the following conditions:

  • Individual(s) in the household has qualified for unemployment benefits or has experienced a reduction in household income, incurred significant costs, or has experienced other financial hardship due directly or indirectly to the coronavirus outbreak; and
  • Individual(s) in the household can demonstrate a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability evidenced by a past due utility or rent notice.

What can CERA cover?

Household SizeMaximum Total One Time Utility Payment
(Includes Future Payment)
Maximum Future Utility Payment as a Credit
1-2 persons$1,500$300
3-4 persons$2,000$500
5+ persons$2,500$500

Tenants up to 50% AMI are eligible for an additional $500 if needed, to fully pay utility arrears.

How much RENTAL ASSISTANCE is available?

  • Up to 50% AMI-up to 12 months of rental assistance
    • Included within the 12 months, 3 months can be used for future rent assistance
  • 50-80% AMI-up to 10 months of rental assistance
    • Included within the 10 months, 3 months can be used for future rent assistance
  • Tenants may apply for an additional 3 months of rental assistance if necessary, for housing stability

Are there any limits on how much per month I can receive?

Yes, the program limit is 150% of the HUD Fair Market Rent based on rental unit size and county.

If home internet covered in the program?

Yes, a flat $300 internet stipend is available for households that have home internet and include a recent internet bill/statement in their application package. The $300 payment will be made to either the Internet service provider or the tenant.