CAPITOL HILL (CBSNEWS.COM) – A $25 billion federal rescue effort is underway to help the millions of Americans who are months behind on their rent and utility bills.

Starting January 20, the billions will be split among all 50 states, Washington, D.C., U.S. territories and Native American tribes. Local officials will then funnel those dollars to cities and counties that have rental assistance programs.

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A renter or landlord can apply for the funds and, if approved, the money can pay up to 12 months of overdue rent, including late fees, or the next three months of pending payments.

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