COVID-19 Rental Assistance Program

Have you experienced a loss of income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and are unable to pay rent? INHS may be able to help.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the lives of community members, INHS has worked with funders to establish the COVID-19 Rental Assistance Program. The program is designed to provide rent relief for up to three months to eligible households who have experienced a loss of income related to the public health crisis.

This assistance will be available to renters who meet income limits in Tompkins County. Applicants will not need to repay this assistance. Please be advised that your landlord will need to agree to participate in this program and properties will need to meet condition requirements.

Funds will be distributed on a first eligible, first served basis. INHS tenants are welcome to apply but will not receive priority. If you need assistance in completing the application or you need translation services, contact Amber Compton at

This program has been made possible through re-purposed grant funds previously awarded to INHS through the Tompkins County Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, and the New York State HOME Local Program, and through a supplemental award provided by the Ithaca Urban Renewal Agency’s (IURA) Community Development Block Grant Coronavirus (CDBG-CV).

Funding for Schuyler, Seneca, and Tioga Counties has expired. If additional funding becomes available, INHS will update this page as soon as possible.

Do you have questions? View our FAQ page.


get started here!

Steps to find out if you’re eligible to receive financial assistance through INHS:

Step 1

Complete our application packet.

You’ll need to provide a copy of your current lease, copies of your most recent two months of statements for all bank and/or investment accounts (required for City of Ithaca residents only), and proof of COVID-19 related income loss. View additional resources here.

Step 2

Mail, drop off, upload, send a secured email, if you are able, to, or fax (607) 277-4536 the completed forms to INHS.

Step 3

Once your application is submitted, you will be contacted by an INHS employee to discuss your application and will be notified if any additional information is needed. If determined eligible, INHS will work with your landlord to finalize their eligibility, and will arrange for payment to be made directly to your landlord.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to have COVID-19 to be eligible for this program?

No, you just need to have lost income because of COVID-19. 

How do I apply for the COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program?

Visit, call 607-277-4500 x201, or pick up/drop off paperwork from the front porch of 115 West Clinton St, Ithaca, NY 14850 to apply for this funding.

Does the landlord need to apply as well as the tenant?

No, only the tenant should apply. INHS will request the Landlord to provide documentation and sign a program agreement prior to assistance being provided.

How long does the emergency rental assistance last?

Emergency rental assistance may be provided for no more than three months, but receipt is dependent upon need and tenant’s continued eligibility throughout the three month period.

Will the COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program cover tenant utilities?

Only if the utilities are an existing part of the tenant’s contracted lease payment.

What if I do not have a lease?

You are not eligible if you do not have a lease. You can request your landlord to sign a lease extension but rent must remain the same.

Are there income guidelines?

Yes, view the income limits.

How likely am I to get help?

Funding is very limited and we will not be able to help everyone. INHS will be applying for additional funding as it becomes available.

How long will this program last?

This is a program designed specifically to address those affected by COVID-19’s impact on the economy.  Available funds are limited.

Am I eligible if already receiving assistance from another rental assistance program?

No.  With the exception of security deposits if a lease has been signed, this program cannot provide additional assistance if you already receive on-going rental assistance through Section 8, or any similar rental assistance program.

What if I lost my income before COVID-19 or my income loss is unrelated to COVID-19?

This program is only available to tenants who lost income due to the impacts of COVID-19.

What if I apply but my landlord does not respond to INHS or is not willing to agree to the Funders’ terms?

Unfortunately, we need participation from your landlord to provide assistance.

What if I was already behind in rent prior to the COVID-19 pandemic?  Can I still qualify for assistance?

Existing rental arrears do not disqualify a tenant from eligibility so long as they meet all other eligibility criteria.  Landlords must agree to postpone any eviction proceedings until at least 30 days after receipt of final payment from the Emergency Rental Assistance program.

What if I have received an eviction notice?

You may be able to receive funds through DSS or Tompkins Community Action, INHS can screen you for eligibility for other programs that might be able to provide more funding and/or you can call 2-1-1 for wide variety of resources.

What if payments through this program are provided after the rent due date?  Will the assistance amount be increased to cover the late fees?

All effort will be made to provide rental payments in a timely manner, but landlords must agree to waive all late fees that may have otherwise been accrued during the 3 month period for which emergency rental assistance is received.

Does this program limit the number of tenants that one landlord can have apply for assistance?


What documentation will this program require from the landlord?

Landlords will be required to provide a copy of the deed to the subject property, and to sign a preliminary Landlord Agreement form (provided by INHS).  If the tenant and property are approved for assistance the Landlord will also be required to sign final Program Agreement form and a VAWA lease addendum, as applicable (both forms to be provided by INHS).

Are there eligibility criteria for the property itself?

In most cases the landlord will be required to certify that the property doesn’t have outstand code violations and requirements for health and safety.  In some instances INHS is required to visit and certify the condition of the property. Properties for which code violations cannot be remedied or meet other property condition requirements may be ineligible to receive assistance through this program.

Still have questions? Send them to or call (607) 277-4500 ext. 201.

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