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  • Ryan Wittler

About 89% of the Federal Emergency Rental Assistance Program Funds Haven’t Been Given Out

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According to the Treasury Department, they’re struggling when it comes to getting vulnerable renters the $46.5 billion authorized in the two federal pandemic relief packages passed over the last year.

In July, just $1.7 billion was distributed by state and local governments, bringing the total money given out to a paltry $5.1 billion, or about 11% of the total amount authorized.

Why it matters:

According to new data from the Census Bureau, an estimated 1.2 million households are “very likely” to be evicted in the next two months, and while 2.8 million households have applied for aid, only about 500,000 have received assistance. Another 700,000 have been rejected, but a substantial 1.5 million are still waiting for a decision.

To address the backlog, on Wednesday, the Treasury Department announced seven new policies it hopes will speed things up. Among other things, the new policies allow state and local governments to use self-reported income data as a first, rather than a last, resort when determining eligibility, saving time hunting that information down.

While the backlog is serious and the policies should help, it might not be the government’s biggest issue to deal with here. According to The New York Times, awareness may be the program’s real problem, as 60% of vulnerable (and likely eligible) renters haven’t even applied.

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