Treasury: November saw highest disbursement of rental aid

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The Treasury Department says states and territories in November paid the largest amount of rental assistance to cash-strapped tenants since the program began.

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In November, states and territories paid the largest amount of rental assistance to cash-strapped tenants since a federal program began, the Treasury Department said in a statement Friday.

The $2.9 billion payment is the latest sign that the program’s initial hiccups have mostly been resolved and that it is now turning to helping places where cash is running short.

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The latest figures show that $17.39 billion has been allocated to help cover back rents, putting the program in motion to pay or allocate $30 billion by the end of 2021. So far, over 3.1 million payments have been made.

Diane Yantel, CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition, welcomed the increased pace of disbursements.

“The efforts of the Biden administration, advocates, program administrators and others have significantly improved emergency rental assistance (ERA) programs and accelerated the pace of ERA distributions, keeping millions of people stable,” she said in a statement. Is.” “About 10 million people in over 3 million households have been assisted with these vital resources. With back rent paid, these families have a clean slate and some housing stability to start the year. ,

But with the better results of the $46.5 billion program, it has come with concerns that it will not reach all tenants who need help. The first tranche of the Emergency Rental Assistance Fund, known as ERA1, is $25 billion and the second, known as ERA2 and meant to be spent over the long term, is $21.5 billion.

The Treasury said more than 100 grantees, including large programs in states such as New York and Texas, have indicated they have gone through almost all of their ERA1 money.

The problem, Sterling said, is that given how states and cities get so much money, there isn’t much to reallocate. He estimated that more than $1.1 billion would be allocated in the first three rounds of reimbursement, of which $875 million would be transferred from within states, most of which would be transferred from state-run programs to cities and counties in need. Will go

A dozen states are transferring money to localities. For example, Georgia is transferring $50 million to Fulton and DeKalb counties. In Arizona, $39 million is being transferred from the state to Maricopa County.

Many places will receive funding from a pool of re-allocated funds from poorly performing states. California will receive $50.3 million, New Jersey $40.8 million, New York $27 million and the District of Columbia $17.8 million.

“There won’t be a large amount of additional funding,” Sterling said. “Restoration will help but will not fill the gaps in large states like Texas, New York or California, which have largely committed their funding and still have significant needs.”

The initial rollout of the federal program was plagued by slow disbursements, with administration officials publicly blaming state and municipal partners for obstructing the process with excessive bureaucracy aimed at preventing fraud.

Until recently, the problem was that some parts of the country were spending all their money, while others, especially in some parts of the south, were lagging.

Entities that haven’t obligated 65% of their ERA1 money or found an expense ratio below 30% by September 30 based on a Treasury formula face reallocation of funds. Grantees can avoid losing money if they submit a plan by November 15 showing how they will improve distributions or are able to get their distribution numbers above the 65% or 30% threshold.

The deadline for submitting requests for the second round of reallocated funds is January 21. By law, the process of reallocating ERA2 funds will not begin until March 31, 2022.

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