|NCSHA, in partnership with other national organizations representing Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) grantees at the state, county, city, and tribal levels, today sent House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) a letter encouraging her to incorporate changes to the ERA 1 and ERA 2 authorizing statutes in legislation the chairwoman is planning to introduce next week. The goal of her forthcoming legislation is to make changes to the ERA program to remove statutory barriers and accelerate the use of resources, allowing more eligible households to receive funding faster.
NCSHA urges the chairwoman to:
- Simplify the eligibility requirements under ERA 1, in particular as they relate to requiring households to have had a covid-related hardship in order to qualify;
- Provide “safe harbors” to grantees to protect them should the Treasury Inspector General find de minimis improper payments upon audit resulting from steps grantees took to expedite assistance;
- Allow grantees to assist landlords if tenants are not cooperative or cannot be located;
- Extend the time period during which a household may receive assistance; and
- Facilitate the use of ERA for master leases in hotels and motels to assist households that may need to stay temporarily in a hotel or motel before transitioning to more permanent housing.
In addition to NCSHA, the letter is signed by the American Public Human Services Association, the Council of State Community Development Agencies, the National American Indian Housing Council, the National Association of Counties, the National Community Development Association, and the National League of Cities. NCSHA has been coordinating these organizations on various communications with Treasury so that ERA grantees can speak as one to advocate with Treasury and Congress to support the success of the ERA program.
The House Financial Services Committee will hold a hearing on the bill on September 10 and could mark it up as early as the following week.