COVID-19 Emergency Assistance- Rent, Mortgage & Utilities

Through a grant from the State of Tennessee, the Knoxville Area Urban League is able to provide assistance to homeowners and renters in East Tennessee.  The assistance will be in the form of a direct payment to your mortgage company, landlord or utility company.

To qualify for the program, you must be able to attest to the following:

  • You are having difficulty paying, or are behind on, your housing payment due to economic issues caused by the financial downturn during the COVID-19 crisis. You may apply even if you are under an eviction/foreclosure moratorium.
  • Your current income is less than $99,000 a year ($189,000 for married couples).
  • You live in Knox, Anderson, Blount, Jefferson, & Sevier.
  • You are US Citizen or Permanent Resident

To apply,

1.) First, review the FAQs below, it will expedite how quickly we can provide you with funding.

2.) Click here for the application.  Only one application is needed per household.  Note: There are 19 required items on the application, you will not be able to submit the application without all 19 completed.  However, you should fill out all applicable fields to prevent delays in processing your application.

3.) After completing the application, you will need to email the following documents to

  • Proof of a COVID-19 related loss of income.  This can be a layoff notice, unemployment benefits statement, or paycheck stubs showing a reduction in hours.
  • Two month’s bank statements for all checking and savings accounts (Please make sure that the bank statement does NOT include a full bank account number.)
  • Layoff/ Termination or Unemployment Letter (if applicable)
  • Current Mortgage Statement/ History showing arrears and amount owed. (if applicable)
  • Past due notice from the utility/ water company. (if applicable)
  • Valid Tennessee Drivers License or State I.D.
  • Past due notice from housing source you are seeking assistance for.
  • Other documents or information as requested by your processor to determine eligibility.

4.) A staff member will get back to you with information about the next steps.

The deadline to apply is Friday, November 13th. Please review the Frequently Asked Questions below.  If you have additional questions or concerns, please email or call 865-524-5511.

Frequently Asked Question (FAQ)

General Questions

Where did this money come from?

These are federal funds.  The CARES Act was passed by the U.S. Congress and signed by the President in the Spring of 2020 to provide economic support to communities affected by the COVID-19 Crisis.  Governor Lee and the Tennessee State legislature set aside $150,000,000 to Tennessee non-profits to provide front-line support to the communities they serve.  HomeSource east tennessee was awarded some of these funds to provide this assistance.

What can the funds be used for?

The funding can be used to pay back rent, mortgage payments or utilities.  We cannot pay for missed rent, mortgage or utility payments before March 2020, nor can we pay housing costs past November 2020.

Will you provide the money to me to make the payment?

No, we will pay it directly to your landlord, mortgage servicer or utility company.

How much money am I eligible to receive?

This will be discussed between you and the staff.  The amount will be based on what you need, and will be capped at a reasonable cost.

Do I have to repay these funds?

No, these are grant funds provided through the State of Tennessee and are to help those impacted by crisis-related issues.

Who are you and why are you providing this funding?

The Knoxville Area Urban League is a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)-approved nonprofit counseling agency; in 1971, we became the first nonprofit in Tennessee to be designated as such. Today, our counseling program is recognized throughout the state for the goals and outcomes we achieve with our clients. The State of Tennessee chose us and other non-profits to help provide the funds to those who need it.   We are committed to helping our East Tennessee neighbors meet their housing needs.   There are many out there that may use the COVID-19 crisis to scam people, so each offer to help should be explored with caution.

Application Questions

What documents do I need to show that I have loss income due to  COVID-19 or the economic downturn?

Types of documents that may serve to show the loss of income include, but are not limited to- unemployment benefit statement, layoff notices, or paycheck statements showing a reduction in pay.

I don’t have access to a computer, is there a paper version of the application.

At this time, the application is solely online.  You can access it from any computer and most smartphones.  You may call to schedule an appointment at our office to use a computer.  Our staff can help you fill out the application.  If you need a special accommodation, please contact the office at 865-524-5511.

I and my roommate share an apartment/house.  I am the only one on the lease/mortgage, but they had a loss of income and I am unable to pay the rent/mortgage without their help.  Can I apply?

Yes, although documentation might be tricky.  You would have to show that the roommate lives with you (a utility bill, license or other item showing that it is there address.) You would need to attest that their is a verbal agreement between the two of you to share rent.  Then, you would need to document your roommate’s loss of income.

Qualification Questions

I had a reduction in income over the summer, but I am back to work.  However, I am still behind on my mortgage/rent, and I do not have enough money to get caught back up.  Can I qualify, even though I am back to my old income?

Yes,  this program requires that you a.) show a loss of income, b.) show you need housing help and c.) certify (in the application), that housing help is needed because of that loss of income.  If you became delinquent because of loss of income and you are still at risk of losing housing, you should meet that qualification.

Can I get help for a payment on a manufactured home that does not have a mortgage?


I quit my job to take care of a child out of school or I quit my job because I am high-risk for COVID-19.  Can I qualify?

Yes, however you may need to provide an explanation of why you felt it necessary.

I am currently under a rent/mortgage moratorium.   Can I qualify?

Yes, if you are willing to provide a statement that you do not expect to be able to pay all back due amounts when the moratorium comes to an end.  Unless you are confident that you will be caught up on your payment before the end of the moratorium, we strongly suggest you apply.

I am currently in a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 Bankruptcy.  Can I apply?

Please reach out to your bankruptcy attorney to determine if you are eligible.  The attorney can contact our staff directly at 865-524-5511 with questions.