The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the financial challenges that many DC residents face as workers have lost jobs and families have struggled to care for their children. At the same time, residents still have bills to pay to keep a roof over their head and their lights on. Countless residents have been unable to keep up and are at risk of eviction.

During August and September, OAG is partnering with local nonprofit organizations to sponsor in-person STAY DC clinics to help residents navigate the application process so they can get support to pay their rent and utility bills. We hope residents join us to get assistance filling out the applications.

What is STAY DC?

STAY DC is a financial assistance program for District renters and housing providers who are looking for support to cover housing and utility expenses and offset the loss of income. The program is meant to help families settle debts, pay landlords what they’re owed and, ultimately, avoid a crisis when the District’s moratorium on eviction proceedings expires later this year.

Under the STAY DC online portal, tenants can apply to cover outstanding rent and utility bills dating back to April 1, 2020, and three months of future rent. Click here to determine eligibility for STAY DC support.

But, for tenants who are elderly, face technological barriers, or are disabled, illiterate, or whose primary language is not English, the application is often impossible to navigate without help — and there isn’t enough help to go around.

How can OAG help?

OAG is stepping in to fill that gap. We have partnered with several nonprofit organizations who are sponsoring STAY DC clinics to help residents navigate the application process. OAG attorneys and staff are volunteering at the clinics to help residents apply for financial assistance, as many have expressed difficulties filling out the application. The clinics will take place at:

  • August 3, 6:00pm – 9:00pm
    Ward 2: Luther Place Memorial Church: 1226 Vermont Ave NW, Washington, DC 20005
  • August 10, 6:00pm – 9:00pm
    Ward 8: Hart Middle School: 601 Mississippi Ave SE, Washington, DC 20032
  • August 19, 6:00pm – 9:00pm
    Ward 8: Hart Middle School: 601 Mississippi Ave SE, Washington, DC 20032
  • August 28, 10:00am – 2:00pm
    Ward 7: Marshall Heights Community Development Organization: 3939 Benning Rd NE, Washington, DC 20019
  • September 11, 10:00am – 2:00pm
    Ward 5: Church of the Redeemer, 1423 Girard Street NE, Washington, DC 20017  
  • September 18, 10:00am – 2:00pm
    Ward 7: East Washington Heights Baptist Church: 2220 Branch Ave SE, Washington, DC 20020
  • September 20, 5:00pm – 8:00pm
    Ward 1: Columbia Heights Education Center, 3101 16th St NW, Washington, DC 20010
  • September 22, 5:00pm – 8:00pm
    Ward 8: THEARC, 1901 Mississippi Ave SE, Washington, DC 20020

Do I need to pre-register to go to a clinic?

We strongly encourage residents to pre-register at this link to join one of the upcoming clinics so residents will be paired with a volunteer who can assist. Residents can also walk up to a clinic without an appointment, but pre-registering will guarantee that someone will be available to provide assistance.

Do I need to bring anything with me to a clinic?

Before going to an appointment, review the list of required documents and bring those documents to the appointment.

Can I volunteer to help at a clinic?

If you’re interested in volunteering to help DC residents fill out their STAY DC applications, register at this link. You do not have to be a lawyer to volunteer. Everyone who submits the form will be provided with a one-hour training link, which must be completed before your first volunteer shift.

Why is there still funding available for this program?

The District created STAY DC – which is jointly run by the DC Department of Human Services and the DC Department of Housing and Community Development – to distribute the District’s portion of the federal assistance funds, which totals $200 million, to eligible residents for rent and utility support.

Partially as a result of application difficulties, STAY DC still has more than 80% of its assistance funds which can be distributed to eligible residents.

The District must disperse at least $130 million to eligible residents before September 30, 2021, or it forfeits additional federal funds that the District would be eligible for and which could help even more families avoid eviction.

I’m not a tenant, but I’m having trouble paying my utilities. Can STAY DC help me?

STAY DC is only available to tenants. Homeowners who are struggling with utilities bills should contact their utilities providers to discuss payment plans. There is also information about other utilities assistance available here.

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