The Consolidated Appropriations Act passed at the end of December provided $25 billion in much-needed rental assistance. Following its passage, attention quickly turned to the task of distributing these funds to struggling tenants and landlords. “When the CARES Act was signed on March 27, 2020, it took the Treasury Department more than a month to issue guidance on the implementation of relief funds,” said NHC’s David Dworkin. “We simply don’t have that kind of time to waste now.”
This week, Treasury took the important step of clarifying the distribution process with formal guidance on the Emergency Rental Assistance Program. The guidance stipulates that at least 90% of funds received by eligible states, territories and local governments must be allocated to direct financial assistance, including rent, utilities and other housing-related expenses. The remaining funds may be used for housing stability services and administrative costs.
Treasury also provides details on grantee award submission and eligibility information for renters. Treasury defines “eligible households” as renter households that qualify for unemployment, have experienced a reduction in household income or financial hardship; demonstrate a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability; and/or have a household income at or below 80% of the area median income. Other details on payment amount calculations and Treasury oversight are forthcoming.