Written by Spotloan

This year has been full of challenges, to say the least. With over 12 million Americans currently out of work, many people are scrambling to find in-demand jobs for the unemployed and avoid financial disasters. But with millions of people vying for the same jobs, COVID-related shutdowns, and family obligations, overcoming unemployment right now can be difficult.

Despite increased unemployment benefits, protections against evictions, and mortgage moratoriums put in place, many people are still finding themselves running out of options. As this nightmare drags on, countless individuals are looking for ways to avoid foreclosures and apartment evictions. While the journey ahead may seem daunting, there is some good news if you’ve found yourself in a difficult housing situation this year.

What to Do if You Are Facing Homelessness

Contact your friends and family

If you are on the verge of facing foreclosure or eviction, speak to your landlord or lender about COVID housing relief. They may be able to work with you by pausing your payments or accepting partial payments. If you have already taken this route and it wasn’t enough to keep you in your home, it’s time to switch gears.

It may be difficult to admit that you need help, but friends and family can be a tremendous resource in times like these. If anyone you are close to has a spare bed or an empty couch, see if they are willing to share it with you while you get back on your feet.

Get in touch with your local shelter or housing service

Unfortunately, not everyone will be able to take advantage of the kindness of a family member or friend. Many people live great distances from their closest relatives or feel that they can’t burden others who are currently struggling, as well. If this is the case for you, your first step should be to get in contact with your local shelter or housing service instead.

They will be able to direct you and help you identify your options. Because there is a large number of homeless individuals in the United States, shelters and housing services are finding ways to prioritize their resources. Vulnerable individuals and families with young children may take priority in heavily impacted areas. But there may be other options that they can direct you to, as well.

Take advantage of the resources available to you from the IRS

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently announced that individuals experiencing homelessness may be eligible for a $1,200 Economic Impact Payment. In line with other recent payments, there would also be an additional $500 for each qualifying child under the age of 17. The deadline to receive the payment within this year is fast approaching.

To get your payment before the year is over, you’ll have to register with the IRS by November 21, 2020. Thankfully, they’ve made this very easy to do. You can use their secure and free non-filers: enter payment info here tool. The qualifications for this particular Economic Impact Payment are listed as follows:

  • You must be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or qualifying resident alien
  • You must have a work-eligible Social Security number
  • You can’t be claimed as a dependent of another taxpayer

If you qualify, all you’ll need to do is enter your information into the payment tool, and the IRS will handle the rest. You’ll enter your name (spouse and children’s names too, if applicable), social security numbers, and your email and mailing address. If you currently do not have a reliable mailing address, it’s crucial to enter your banking information so that they can directly deposit your payment. 

Anyone that misses the November deadline can claim the payment as a credit on their federal income tax return next year. This payment will not be considered taxable income and will not affect your eligibility for other benefits like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or unemployment. Two weeks after you put in for your payment, you can use the IRS’s Get My Payment tool to check the status.