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NLIHC and HIP Release Joint Report on How Jurisdictions Are Building on Treasury’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program

Report shows approximately half of surveyed jurisdictions plan to sustain emergency rental assistance, with many retaining important features of pandemic-era ERA programs.

Washington, D.C. – The National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) and the University of Pennsylvania’s Housing Initiative at Penn (HIP) released today a joint report, Continuing Emergency Rental Assistance: How Jurisdictions are Building on Treasury’s ERA Program. The report examines what components of the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s (Treasury) Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) program are being retained by state and local jurisdictions, as well as the factors leading to their retention. The report shows that approximately half of surveyed jurisdictions are continuing to offer emergency rental assistance to low-income renters and that many plan to retain key features and flexibilities of pandemic-era ERA programs.

“The pandemic revealed the need for permanent emergency rental assistance programs to help keep renters facing unexpected crises stably housed,” said NLIHC President and CEO Diane Yentel. “Now that Treasury ERA funds are almost exhausted, many jurisdictions are working to retain innovations, program features, and partnerships developed during Treasury’s program in order to continue effectively serving renters. This joint report offers invaluable insights into which program features are being retained and why future emergency rental assistance programs should be strengthened to pave the way for permanent emergency rental assistance.”

Despite the ongoing needs of low-income renters, nearly all funding made available through Treasury’s ERA program has been exhausted. Indeed, as early as December 2022, nearly 80% of funds had been spent. As a result, only 15% of ERA programs were still open to new applications for assistance as of July 2023. Worse, the depletion of Treasury ERA funds has coincided with the termination of other pandemic-era benefit programs for low-income people, increasing financial burdens and housing instability and demonstrating the need for continued emergency rental assistance for low-income households.

The report, which draws on surveys of more than 115 program administrators and semi-structured interviews with 10 administrators, finds that almost half of surveyed jurisdictions (47%) are continuing or planning to continue providing emergency rental assistance – on a much smaller scale compared to Treasury’s ERA program. Many jurisdictions are also building on partnerships with courts and nonprofits that were initiated during the pandemic. They are also continuing to permit the use of flexibilities allowed under Treasury’s ERA program, such as self-attestation, categorical eligibility, fact-specific proxy, and direct-to-tenant assistance. Those jurisdictions not continuing to provide emergency rental assistance identified the lack of a dedicated funding source as a major barrier to sustaining the program.

“The Treasury ERA program not only served households in need during the pandemic but also allowed jurisdictions to develop their infrastructures and strengthen partnerships, processes which were critical to the success of ERA programs,” said HIP Housing Initiative Director Rebecca Yae. “However, as this report shows, without a dedicated funding source for emergency rental assistance, these jurisdictions could now lose a significant amount of administrative capacity, especially in infrastructure, partnerships, and institutional knowledge.”

Continuing Emergency Rental Assistance: How Jurisdiction Are Building on Treasury’s ERA Program is available at:

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