NLIHC and Housing Initiative at Penn Release Joint Report on Lessons for Permanent Emergency Rental Assistance Programs
WASHINGTON, DC – The National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) and the University of Pennsylvania’s Housing Initiative at Penn today released a new joint report, Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) during the Pandemic: Implications for the Design of Permanent ERA Programs. The report discusses the results of a survey conducted in late-2021 of 100 administrators of emergency rental assistance (ERA) programs that were created to keep renters stably housed during the COVID-19 pandemic. The report also draws on prior research by the two organizations to highlight lessons that may be useful in future efforts to establish permanent ERA programs.
“The pandemic has highlighted the need for permanent emergency rental assistance programs to help keep renters facing unexpected crises stably housed,” said NLIHC President and CEO Diane Yentel. “The new report offers invaluable suggestions about how such programs could be established.”
Even before the pandemic began, millions of renters who were struggling to pay their rent were just one unexpected crisis away from severe housing instability. Over the course of the pandemic, emergency rental assistance programs have helped keep some of these renters housed, but most ERA programs are temporary. Without permanent ERA programs, renters facing housing instability will be left in the same situation in which they began the pandemic when temporary ERA programs expire.
In particular, the report examines four “challenge areas” that complicated efforts for most ERA programs: (1) staff capacity, technology, and infrastructure; (2) tenant responsiveness and application completeness; (3) landlord responsiveness; and (4) federal oversight. Focusing on these challenge areas, the report provides suggestions about how permanent emergency rental assistance programs could overcome them.
“States, localities, and tribal nations across the U.S. have developed and deployed hundreds of emergency rental assistance programs over the last two years,” said Claudia Aiken, Director of the Housing Initiative at Penn and a co-author of the report. “The new report draws on surveys of these programs to highlight key points of tension and learning that can and should inform efforts to develop more permanent emergency rental assistance going forward.”
Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) during the Pandemic: Implications for the Design of Permanent ERA Programs is available at: https://bit.ly/3vWgwri