Are you a tenant behind on your rent because of COVID-19? Or a landlord whose tenants need help getting back on their feet? Then you may be able to take advantage of the Safe Harbor Housing Program.

Safe Harbor is an eviction diversion initiative designed to help Rhode Island landlords and tenants resolve disputes over late or unpaid rent without having to go through the traditional court process.

Whether you’re a tenant or a landlord, you can apply via the tenant and landlord applications at the bottom of this page. But first, read on to see if you qualify.

What does the program offer?

For households that qualify, Safe Harbor can help with up to six months of rent arrearages accumulated on or after March 1, 2020.

Legal services may also be available for renters who do not otherwise have representation.

Who qualifies?

Help is available for income-eligible tenants who are experiencing financial hardship because of the COVID-19 emergency and are at risk of eviction as a result. Landlords may initiate the application process on behalf of tenants who they believe to be eligible.

In order to receive assistance, tenants must meet the following criteria:

  • The household earns at or below 80% of Area Median Income, adjusted for family size; and
  • The household is in arrears because of financial hardship due to the COVID-19 emergency.
80% Area Median Income Limits FY2020Barrington, Bristol, Burrillville, Central Falls, Charlestown, Coventry, Cranston, Cumberland, East Greenwich, East Providence, Exeter, Foster, Glocester, Jamestown, Johnston, Lincoln, Little Compton, Narragansett, North Kingstown, North Providence, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, Providence, Richmond, Scituate, Smithfield, South Kingstown, Tiverton, Warren, Warwick, West Greenwich, West Warwick, WoonsocketWesterly, Hopkinton & New ShorehamNewport, Portsmouth & Middletown
1 person$48,750$50,050$54,950
2 person$55,700$57,200$62,800
3 person$62,650$64,350$70,650
4 person$69,600$71,500$78,500
5 person$75,200$77,250$84,800
6 person$80,750$82,950$91,100
7 person$86,350$88,700$97,350
8 person$91,900$94,400$103,650

Landlords do not need to file an eviction complaint against a tenant in order to participate in Safe Harbor. However, if you have already filed a complaint against a tenant with whom you would now like to participate in Safe Harbor, program staff will work with you to resolve both a payment agreement and your existing complaint.

How to Apply

Interested tenants and landlords should call 211 or fill out the online forms below in order to start the screening and application process.

Frequently asked questions

What counts as a “household"?

A household includes any individual or group of individuals that share a rental living facility.

What counts as an eligible financial hardship?

Tenants may experience financial hardship due to the COVID-19 emergency for a variety of reasons. Household members may have been laid-off, terminated, lost wages or business income, or been unable to return to work due to quarantine or a lack of childcare. Tenants on fixed incomes may also have experienced increased expenses related to the emergency. These are all qualifying forms of financial hardship.

Applicants should prepare a short explanation of how their situation was caused or made worse by the COVID-19 emergency.

How do I calculate my household income?

Calculate your household income by totaling the following for all household members over the age of eighteen:

  • Gross employment income, including wages, salaries, overtime pay, commissions, fees, tips and bonuses;
  • Unemployment benefits and any other payments in lieu of earnings (Social Security, Social Security Disability Income, workers compensation, severance pay);
  • Net income from a business or profession;
  • Periodic allowances such as alimony and child support; and
  • RI Works Benefits.

How many times may I apply?

Due to limited funding availability, a tenant may only participate in the program once. A landlord may participate in each case that involves a unique tenant.

I’m a tenant. What documents should I prepare for my application?

Please prepare to submit the following documents:

  • A current lease agreement or other proof of residency, such as a recent utility bill
  • Evidence of household income, such as recent bank statements, pay stubs, or a benefits award letter
  • If applicable: copy of eviction complaint and summons

I’m a landlord. What documents should I prepare for my application?

Please prepare to submit the following documents:

  • Completed W-9
  • Evidence of the rent owed, such as demand notices, bank statements, property management reports, or other written correspondence
  • If applicable: copy of current lease agreement
  • If applicable: copy of eviction complaint and summons
  • If applicable: management company contract with property owner