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NLIHC Overview and Analysis of Latest Emergency Rental Assistance Spending Data

WASHINGTON, DC– The National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) is tracking and analyzing all emergency rental assistance (ERA) programs in the U.S. According to our latest tracking, program administrators have spent or obligated $8.4 billion (33.7%) of their ERA 1 allocations as of this week. Today, the Department of Treasury (Treasury) released ERA spending numbers through the end of August, with programs spending or obligating $7.5 billion and serving approximately 1,400,000 households through that time. Details and key takeaways from Treasury’s report are below.

Diane Yentel, NLIHC president and CEO, said this about the data:

“Nearly 1.5 million families helped is meaningful progress, but the overall rate of spending of emergency rental assistance remains too slow. Some communities are distributing ERA quickly and well - proving that it’s possible and making those that aren’t all the more glaring and unacceptable.

Some program administrators were slowed down in ERA spending by state legislatures or city councils. A few received more funding than needed due to Congress’s faulty allocation formula. Many struggle with landlords’ refusing to participate in programs. But the primary cause for overall slow ERA spending is entirely avoidable -  too many program administrators are neither following clear Treasury guidance nor adopting proven best practices.

Slow-spending ERA programs do little outreach, don’t hire enough staff to process applications, and have complicated applications with overly burdensome documentation requirements. Far too few of the slow-spending programs allow renters to use self-attestation for eligibility, despite Treasury guidance that has allowed and urged it for months. Less than a third of programs explicitly allow direct-to-tenant assistance, despite it being permissible and critical to keeping renters housed when landlords refuse to participate.

There are proven and simple ways for ERA programs to expedite assistance. Hire staff. Do robust outreach. Simplify applications. Use self-attestation for eligibility. Provide direct-to-tenant assistance.  The best and fastest-spending programs are already doing these things. Those that are not should course-correct - as Texas, California, New York and Connecticut have done, and as South Carolina and Arkansas recently announced they would do. Those that don’t or won’t – the program administrators that continue to ignore clear White House directives – should face consequences.”

Overview of Treasury Data

ERA1 (the first allocation of $25 billion in ERA resources)

  • Total Spending through August:
    • $7.1B has been paid to households (28% of $25B)
    • $7.5B has been expended through assistance to households, administrative costs, and housing stability services (30% of $25B)
  • Households Served through August:
    • Nearly 1.4M households received ERA funding through August
    • 400,000 of these households were served in August alone
  • Change over time
    • This update represents a substantial increase in the rate of spending over last month when it remained relatively stagnant. Grantees spent $550M more in August than they did in July. In comparison, they only spent $196M more in July than they did in June
    • Percent of the total $46 billion (ERA1 and ERA2) spent by reporting period is as follows:
      • Jan – Mar            1.1%
      • April                      1.9%
      • May                      3.1%
      • June                      6.1%
      • July                       6.9%
      • August                  9.1%
  • Breakdown by Geography
    • States have spent $4.6B, approximately 26% of the ERA1 allocated to states.
      • This is up from 16% at the end of July.
    • Localities have spent $2.6B, approximately 42% of the ERA1 allocated to localities.
      • This is up from 31% at the end of July.
    • Territories and Department of Hawaii Home Lands (DHHL) have spent $5.7M, approximately 1% of their ERA1 allocations.
      • Puerto Rico has by far the largest allocation of all territories and has spent $0.
  • Eighteen states spent less than 10% of their ERA1 allocations as of the end of August. Several of these exhibited significant progress in August, however, particularly Florida and South Carolina.
    • Florida                  9%
    • Vermont              9%
    • Indiana                 9%
    • Montana             9%
    • Iowa                     9%
    • Rhode Island      8%
    • Delaware             7%
    • Idaho                    7%
    • South Carolina   7%
    • Tennessee           7%
    • Georgia                6%
    • Alabama              6%
    • Arkansas              4%
    • Nebraska             4%
    • Arizona                3%
    • North Dakota     3%
    • South Dakota     2% 
    • Wyoming            2%
  • As of the end of August, eight states spent more than 40% of their ERA1 allocations:
    • New Jersey                        78%
    • District of Columbia         70%
    • Virginia                               63%
    • Texas                                   56%
    • North Carolina                  48%
    • Illinois                                 43%
    • Alaska                                 43%
    • Massachusetts                  41%
  • Local Spending Takeaways:        
    • More than 100 localities have spent more than 50% of their funding, and approximately 25 have spent 90% or more.
    • Approximately 25 have spent 5% or less.
    • Several localities report spending significantly more than 100% of their funds. This could be due to ERA2 spending they are grouping in, spending from state money they received, or data errors.


  • $207M of ERA2 funding has been paid to households, approximately 1% of the ERA2 allocation.
  • Out of about 400 grantees, approximately 65 have started spending their ERA2 funding. Not all of these grantees have spent down all of their ERA1 funding, however, indicating that some programs may be switching to ERA2 because of the additional flexibilities provided.
  • States that have started spending ERA2 include:
    • Maine, Louisiana, South Dakota, Massachusetts, Kentucky, and Rhode Island

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