Emergency Rental Relief Gaining Momentum in Some States

Rental assistance spending in June surpassed the entire year's total so far, but there's still a long way to go.

July 25, 2021, 11:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

Eviction Crisis

Kevin RC Wilson / Shutterstock

"Emergency rental relief reached far more tenants and landlords in June than in previous months, reflecting delayed progress as the Biden administration, states and cities attempt to stave off an eviction crisis later this summer," reports Rachel Siegel.

As much money was paid to households in need of assistance in June as January through May combined, according to Siegel. Despite the progress, the pace of relief is slow relative to the amount of money available to support households through the economic consequences of the pandemic:

But housing experts caution there is a long way to go. Only about $3 billion was spent on rent, utilities and arrears through June — just a fraction of the $46 billion, in total, Congress appropriated for emergency rental aid. The vast majority of the money has not been spent while states and cities struggle to prop up programs that get money out the door.

Diane Yentel, president and chief executive of the National Low Income Housing Coalition, is quoted in the article noting that many states and cities have yet to provide any assistance to renters in need.

Indeed, Treasury data released Wednesday shows spotty progress. Some states saw encouraging jumps — the state of Illinois went from reporting zero assistance in the first five months of the year to $95.4 million in June, in large part because state officials took so long to build the program. California’s spending more than doubled in June to $74.4 millionup from $30.2 million in May.

Other places continued to lag behind or didn’t see major increases in spending, according to the Treasury data. Idaho paid out $1 million in rental assistance in May, and $1.1 million in June. Nevada paid out $2.6 million in May, then paid out less — $700,000 — in June.

For details about why some states have suddenly ramped up spending, click through to the source article.

For more reading on how to speed up rental assistance programs, see a recent article that listed three ideas to accomplish that goal.

Wednesday, July 21, 2021 in The Washington Post

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