More than 510,000 Households Received Emergency Rental Assistance in September, Totaling Nearly $2.8 Billion in Payments
October 25, 2021 / Source: Treasury
WASHINGTON — State and local governments distributed nearly $2.8 billion from the Department of Treasury’s Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) program to more than 510,000 households in September, up from 459,000 in August. Through September 30, state, local, and Tribal governments have made over 2 million payments to households and distributed over $10 billion.
The September data provides the first look into Emergency Rental Assistance spending since the Supreme Court overturned the Centers for Disease Control’s national eviction moratorium at the end of August. Together with the local moratoria and court diversion efforts that are part of the Biden Administration’s all-of-government approach to keeping people safe and housed during the pandemic, the Emergency Rental Assistance program is on track to protect millions of Americans from eviction and to make over 3 million payments by the end of the year at the current rate. Data from Princeton University’s Eviction Lab suggest that there has been no major national spike in evictions after the federal moratorium came down, with evictions filings remaining below historical averages. That said, every unnecessary eviction is one too many, which is why Treasury continues to do everything it can to make sure assistance is reaching people who need it most – including by working to ensure that those facing eviction have an opportunity to apply and are protected during the application process.
Nearly all jurisdictions reported continued growth in September, and many grantees that were slow to deliver assistance, initially, reported significant spikes as they adopted more of Treasury’s application and procedural flexibilities, streamlined operations, and reduced application backlogs. The City of Los Angeles more than doubled its disbursements from $32 million in August to $72 million in September. The State of Illinois jumped to $177 million in September from $62 million in August, a 185% increase. The states of Minnesota, Michigan, and North Carolina all increased their overall expenditure ratios more than 14% between August and September. Each of these states simplified their application processes for tenants through an enhanced reliance on self-attestation. The coordinated programs of the City and County of Durham, North Carolina increased their expenditure ratio by 34% between August and September, which they attribute to contracting with non-profit community-based organizations to work with tenants and landlords – especially those with language or technical challenges – and speed up their application process. The localities also integrated social workers into the court system to ensure people facing eviction know about Emergency Rental Assistance and get the help they need to apply.
With state and local governments distributing more assistance each month, Treasury will soon begin the process – as required by the ERA1 statute – of recapturing excess funds from allocations that exceed a jurisdiction’s needs or administrative capacity for reallocation to areas with demonstrated needs for this assistance. Earlier this month, Treasury communicated to all grantees about how the reallocation process will work, and beginning in mid-November, Treasury will make determinations of excess funds. As recaptured funds become available, Treasury will work to prioritize requests from grantees in the same state where the funds were initially allocated. The remainder will be available for reallocation nationwide, with priority afforded to grantees already on track to expend all their remaining ERA funds. In making all these decisions, Treasury will be guided by its commitment to ensure the funds available to each grantee are as closely aligned as possible with the needs of the families living in its jurisdiction.
Reallocation is not the only additional source of funding available to state and local grantees. Last month, Treasury began distributing the remaining funds available under the second wave of ERA funding authorized by the American Rescue Plan (ERA2). These recent payments have been made to state and local government grantees who have already substantially expended their ERA1 funds and at least 75% of the initial ERA2 disbursements received in May (equal to 40% of each grantee’s ERA 2 allocation). So far, dozens of cities and counties, in addition to multiple states, have met the threshold and received their remaining ERA2 funds. Treasury is also reminding grantees that they may use their Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery program funds toward rental assistance initiatives.
 Treasury originally reported 420,000 households served in August, but updated the figure to account for additional reporting from grantees during this time period.