How to Get Emergency Housing Assistance: A Comprehensive Guide

There will be millions of eviction cases across the country – estimates range from 10 to 40 million. Most housing authorities have already closed their doors, making it challenging to reach them. Given the overwhelming demand, it’s likely that only a small fraction of housing authorities will be accessible. At that time people need Emergency Housing Assistance.

Many individuals are seeking emergency vouchers, but it’s important to note that traditional emergency vouchers are scarce. While the Biden administration distributed 70,000 of them earlier this year, they were distributed among various housing authorities, with only a limited number available in large cities. These have mostly been allocated by now.

So, what’s the alternative? We’ll explore another type of emergency voucher in this article. You can attempt to navigate this process on your own by becoming a section 8 landlord, but keep in mind that making mistakes on your application can have dire consequences, placing you at the bottom of waiting lists.

How to Get Emergency Housing Assistance?

Coordinated Entry and Housing First.

The threat of homelessness or sudden displacement can be daunting, but there are resources available to help. Emergency housing assistance can be a lifeline for those in crisis. This guide will walk you through the steps and resources to obtain emergency housing assistance.

Step 1: Understand Your Situation:

Before seeking assistance, assess your situation. Are you facing an immediate eviction? Do you need temporary or long-term shelter? Your specific circumstances will dictate the type of assistance you should seek.

Step 2: Visit Your Local Housing Authority:

Most cities have a local housing authority that can provide information about emergency housing and vouchers. They can guide you to local resources or government programs.

Step 3: Research Non-Profit Organizations:

There are many non-profits dedicated to assisting those in housing crises. Organizations like the Salvation Army, Red Cross, and local homeless shelters often have programs or can point you in the right direction.

Step 4: Consider the Continuum of Care (CoC) Program & Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG):

The CoC is designed to promote community-wide commitment to ending homelessness. They provide funds to non-profit organizations and can help with emergency housing. The ESG program offers funding to address homelessness and provide rapid re-housing. This could be a viable option for those in urgent need.

Step 5: Apply for the Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8):

While not exclusively an emergency option, Section 8 provides vouchers for those in need to get subsidized housing. There’s often a waiting list, but in dire circumstances, you might be prioritized.

Step 6: Coordinated Entry and Housing First

To understand how to secure emergency housing assistance, you need to know that housing authorities receive funding from HUD (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development). HUD also allocates funds to non-profit organizations, which distribute vouchers under programs like CoC (Continuum of Care). Currently, this is one of the few viable options available, as other avenues have either dried up or take too long to provide emergency housing assistance, Please be on section 8 waitlist.

Step 7: Coordinated Entry Test

Coordinated Entry Test.

One crucial step is to take the Coordinated Entry test, which assesses your eligibility for emergency housing assistance. This test is a standardized tool used by non-profits to determine the severity of your housing situation. Here’s a beep overview of how it works:

  • Chronic Homelessness: If you have a history of homelessness or are at risk of becoming homeless within 30 days, you can earn about 25 points.
  • Scoring Requirement: To qualify, you need a score of 10 or higher.
  • Homeless History: Questions will inquire about where you slept last night, whether you’ve been homeless before, and how many times you’ve been homeless in the last 30 years.

Types of Assistance 

Types of Emergency Housing Assistance.

Remember that the specific questions and scoring criteria may vary from place to place, so it’s essential to familiarize yourself with the local variations. Depending on your score, you may qualify for different types of assistance:

1. Rapid Rehousing (RRH)

Rapid Rehousing is a housing intervention strategy designed to help individuals and families quickly exit homelessness and return to permanent housing. It’s primarily aimed at those who do not need intensive support services to keep their housing.

  1. Housing Identification: Agencies work with landlords to identify available and appropriate housing options for individuals or families.
  2. Rent and Move-In Assistance: RRH programs offer short-term financial assistance to help cover the costs of moving into a new home. This can include covering initial rent, security deposits, and sometimes utility deposits.
  3. Case Management and Services: Participants often receive case management services to help them stabilize and retain their housing. This can include connection to local resources, job training, and regular check-ins.

RRH is designed to be a temporary solution, often providing assistance for a few months to a year. The goal is to reduce the amount of time a person or family is homeless, thereby limiting the trauma and dislocation caused by losing one’s home.

2. Non-Supportive Services

Unlike supportive housing services that are paired with housing, non-supportive services are more generalized and can cater to a broad range of needs that are not necessarily linked with housing provision.

  1. General Case Management: This includes assistance in accessing medical, social, educational, and other services, regardless of housing status.
  2. Employment Services: Job training, placement, and education services to help individuals gain employment.
  3. Life Skills Training: This can include budgeting, cooking, and other essential skills for independent living.
  4. Legal Counseling: Assistance with legal matters, including obtaining IDs, addressing tickets or warrants, and other legal issues.
  5. Connection to Community Resources: Referrals and connections to other local resources and services.

These services aim to help individuals and families improve their quality of life, increase self-sufficiency, and maintain independence, irrespective of their housing situation.

3. Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH)

Permanent Supportive Housing is an intervention designed for individuals and families with chronic illnesses, disabilities, mental health issues, or substance use disorders who have experienced long-term or repeated homelessness. It combines non-time-limited affordable housing assistance with wrap-around supportive services.

  1. Stable Housing: Participants are provided with long-term housing, often with no end date, ensuring they have a secure place to live.
  2. Intensive Case Management: Given the complex needs of PSH participants, they receive ongoing and comprehensive case management.
  3. Health Services: Access to physical and mental health services, including substance abuse treatment.
  4. Life Skills Training: Education on essential skills necessary for daily living.
  5. Employment Support: For those who can work, employment services and vocational training are provided.

PSH provides a stable environment where the most vulnerable can rebuild their lives. By addressing housing needs and the underlying issues that may contribute to homelessness, PSH aims to reduce the use of crisis services and increase housing stability, health outcomes, and overall well-being.

Alternative Action Steps

Taking Action foe emergency housing assistance.

The urgency of your situation cannot be stressed enough. You have to be proactive in securing emergency housing assistance. Here are your real options:

  1. Self-Education: Dive into the manuals and resources available to understand how the system works. Watch videos and gather as much information as you can.
  2. Professional Assistance: If you’re unsure or don’t want to risk making mistakes on your application, seek help from a qualified professional. They can guide you through the process and ensure you have the best chance of success.

Leaving your fate in the hands of social workers or caseworkers who may not be adequately trained in this area is not advisable. This is a critical time, and you must take control of your situation.

Frequently Asked Questions 

1. What is emergency housing assistance, and who qualifies for it?

Emergency housing assistance provides temporary shelter or financial support to individuals and families facing homelessness or eviction. Qualifications vary by program and location but often consider factors like income, family size, and housing status. Eligibility criteria can include imminent homelessness or chronic homelessness.

2. How can I apply for emergency housing assistance?

To apply for emergency housing assistance, you typically need to contact your local housing authority or a designated non-profit organization that administers such programs. You may need to complete an application, provide documentation of your housing crisis, and participate in an assessment to determine eligibility.

3. What types of emergency housing assistance programs are available?

Emergency housing assistance programs can include Rapid Rehousing (RRH), Temporary Shelter, Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH), and Continuum of Care (CoC) programs. RRH provides short-term financial support, while PSH offers long-term housing with no rent. CoC programs assess eligibility and prioritize assistance based on need.

4. Are there any emergency housing assistance resources available online?

Yes, there are online resources that can help you understand the emergency housing assistance process. Many organizations provide guidelines, manuals, and FAQs on their websites. You can also find informative videos on platforms like YouTube that explain the application process and eligibility criteria.

5. Can I seek professional assistance to navigate the emergency housing assistance process?

Yes, you can seek help from qualified professionals who specialize in housing assistance. Housing consultants or experts can provide guidance, assist with the application process, and ensure that you meet all requirements. While some services may come at a cost, they can significantly increase your chances of securing emergency housing assistance.


In conclusion, the need for emergency housing assistance is more pressing than ever, with millions facing eviction. While traditional emergency vouchers are scarce, Coordinated Entry programs offer a potential lifeline. However, navigating this complex system requires knowledge and precision.

Take the time to educate yourself, or consider seeking professional assistance to ensure you don’t miss this critical opportunity. Our links in the description provide access to valuable resources, including manuals and guides. We genuinely hope for the best for all those facing housing challenges. Your future may depend on your actions today.

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