Rental Relief Barely Picked Up in July

Posted By: Jon Lowder Blog ,

In July, as the expiration of the CDC's eviction moratorium neared, it would have been expected that emergency rental assistance payments would have picked up significantly. According to the Treasury Department that didn't happen. Here are some details from a Washington Post story about it:

Last month, nearly $1.7 billion was spent on rent, utilities and missed payments for vulnerable households, according to data released Wednesday by the Treasury Department. That’s only a slight uptick from the $1.5 billion that was disbursed in June, despite intense pressure on the Biden administration and local officials to ramp up spending before July 31, when the initial eviction moratorium from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention expired.

The amount of money that’s actually reached people in need is a fraction of the $46.5 billion appropriated by Congress for emergency aid. Of the $25 billion appropriated in December, state and local programs spent about $5.1 billion between January and the end of July, according to Treasury. A March relief package provided the other $21.5 billion. About $108 million of that bucket had been spent as of June.

On Wednesday, the Biden administration released guidelines it says will further streamline application processes and make it easier for people to get help. But it’s unclear whether the changes will be enough to solve the persistent issues that have snarled rental relief programs for months.

Interestingly, the story points out that the state of New York hadn't paid out any of its $800 million in first-round funds by the end of June and only $2.7 million in July. By comparison, as we reported last week, the city of Greensboro had already spent/obligated over $9 million in emergency rental payments, and Winston-Salem had spent/obligated over $4 million.