Treasury Releases Remaining $13B Emergency Rent Assistance Money

Treasury Releases Remaining $13B Emergency Rent Assistance Money seal of the department of treasury (Dreamstime)

By Charles Kim | Wednesday, 15 September 2021 06:04 AM

The United States Treasury announced Tuesday that it was releasing the remaining $13 billion in Emergency Rental Assistance to "high performing" state and local grantees.

"Treasury is happy to provide these state and local government programs with additional resources to support Americans in need of rental assistance," said Deputy Secretary Wally Adeyemo. "We are also committed to reallocating resources to ensure assistance reaches struggling tenants and landlords during the pandemic."

This was the second wave of the American Rescue Plan Act funding, with some $25 billion going out in early February during the first round of the program to help renters amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Another $8 billion in first wave funding was distributed in early May to state, local, and Tribal governments, according to the agency.

As of July 31, 50 grantees spent more than 70% of the allotted funds, which included some of the nation’s biggest metro areas that adopted the "best practices" the treasury set out.

The grantees were eligible for this wave of funding because they spent all of what they have received so far, and have 70% of this funding allocated, the agency said.

So far, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, has used $105 million to have the Department of Planning and Development build a website, application, and bi-lingual database that cross checks data with public housing authorities and local utility companies to ensure applicants can easily verify the debts they owe and their income eligibility for the program.

The system is also tied to the courts to avert evictions, the agency said.

In Honolulu, Hawaii, some $123 million has been spent to assist residents and native Hawaiians, and in Des Moines, Iowa, the city spent $26.2 million and were the first grantee to request the next round of funding for additional rental and utility assistance.

Houston, Texas, distributed 92% of its $301.3 million initial allocation by the end of July by enacting an eviction diversion program that connects renters on the eviction docket to the program.

Leon County in Florida used guidance from the treasury to design its application to disperse $19.6 million to renters in need, and New Orleans, Louisiana, spent $27.4 million to help its mainly small, multi-family landlords avert foreclosure during the pandemic, according to the agency.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellin said during a meeting at the White House last week that the agency may re-allocate some of the funding if some grantees are taking their time getting the money "out the door."