July Treasury Data Reveals ERA Spending Remains Low

The U.S. Department of the Treasury released updated Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) spending data through July 31, revealing that an additional $1.68 billion in ERA funding was spent in July, bringing the total ERA spent to just over $5 billion. After steady increases in ERA spending rates from January through June, the amount spent in July only grew slightly, increasing from $1.53 billion in June to $1.68 billion in July. A total of $4.7 billion in assistance has been paid to households and a total of $5.2 billion has been expended, including administrative costs and housing stability expenditures.

Fewer than half of the households who have applied for ERA have been served through the program. By June 30, 2.3 million households had applied for ERA, but by the end of July, only 984,352 had received assistance. These numbers confirm that backlogs in application processing are slowing the disbursal of ERA funding. The 2.3 million households who have applied for assistance is also far less than the estimated 6.5 million households behind on rent, pointing to the continued need for robust ERA outreach efforts. States, whose allocations account for approximately $18 billion of the $25 billion, spent only 16% of their funding by July 31. States vary widely, however, in their success getting funds out the door. Virginia, Texas, and the District of Columbia are leading fund distribution, having spent 54%, 47%, and 45% of their allocations, respectively. Several states also saw significant increases in their fund distribution from June to July, including California, North Carolina, and New Jersey. Many states continue to lag behind, with 16 states having spent less than 5% of their allocation by the end of July. Some states, however, have since reported significant increases in spending. New York, for example, distributed an additional $200 million between the end of July and August 23.    

Per household spending varies widely across states, but states average approximately $5,000 per household. Initial numbers from New York show that it has the highest average spending per household at $14,700, followed by New Jersey ($8,679) and Illinois ($8,473). Arizona has the lowest spending, averaging $945 per household, followed by North Dakota ($1,484) and Vermont ($1,870). States with low household payouts and low spending rates should consider applying the allowable three months of future rent payments to all eligible households in order to ensure housing stability and increase fund distribution.

Localities continue to spend down their funds more quickly than states, increasing their spending from 20% to 30% of the total allocation between June and July. Despite this, 26 localities still have not begun distributing ERA1 funds. NLIHC tracks ERA spending in real-time on the ERA Dashboard and Spending Tracker. These resources have been updated to include the most recent Treasury numbers. This tracking also includes real-time data from program dashboards and program administrators to provide a closer estimate of how much ERA funding has been obligated to date. As of August 26, NLIHC is tracking $6.49 billion in obligated funds.

ERA1 data can be found here: https://bit.ly/2WtbPG1