Rent + Utility Assistance

Michigan’s COVID Emergency Rental Assistance (CERA) program can help renters pay past due rent and utilities.

Tenants can apply for for up to 12 months of rental assistance, and up to 3 months of future rent payments.

A $300 stipend is also available for internet payments.

The Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) will administer the CERA Program through local nonprofit agencies. If you live in Detroit, Highland Park, or Hamtramck, you will apply through Wayne County Metropolitan Community Action Agency (Wayne Metro).

In most cases, payment will be made directly to the landlord or utility provider.

Visit MSHDA’s website for program details, including the documents you will need and how to apply.


Call Wayne Metro at (866) 313-2520 or visit to apply for rental assistance.

If you received a summons from the court, be sure to attend your hearing. Tell the court that you are applying for rental assistance and the court will adjourn your hearing until the assistance is available.

Who is eligible?

Renters who have COVID-related hardship – such as those who qualified for unemployment benefits, experienced income loss, incurred significant costs, or other financial hardship due directly or indirectly to the pandemic; AND

Whose households earn less than 80% of the “Area Median Income” (AMI).

The table below shows these income limits for Detroit:

1 person2 people4 people6 people8 people
CERA income guidelines by county

Renters who already received rental assistance through Michigan’s Eviction Diversion Program (EDP) are eligible to apply for additional funds through CERA.

You will need:

  • Completed CERA Tenant application (MSHDA will have an online application portal starting in April; this will be the easiest way to apply if you have a device with internet).
  • Copy of past-due rent notice, a notice to quit or a court ordered summons, complaint or judgement.
  • Copy of state ID or passport for the tenant applicant (with proof of residency if address does not match the unit).
  • Most current copy of lease agreement in tenant’s name (if a written lease was completed).
  • Provide all proof of earned and unearned income for household members that live at the property and that are over the age of 18.
  • Household income/benefits (unemployment, SSI, etc.) for one month, OR
  • Copy of submitted 2020 IRS form 1040 (first two pages) OR
  • Food Assistance Program Notice of Case Action form (only applicable for households with 3 or less people).
  • Copy of ALL utility statements the tenant is responsible for, if applicable.
  • Copy of Internet bill/statement, if applicable.