New Research Finds Treasury ERA Program Reached Many Black Renters and Renters with Extremely Low Incomes

New research from the Office of Evaluation Sciences (OES) compares the demographic make-up of renters served by the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s (Treasury) Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) program to the demographic make-up of renters eligible for ERA across the nation and by state. Researchers found that the ERA program served a high share of renters with extremely low incomes – i.e., those who earn 30% or less of the area median income (AMI) – and a high share of Black renters. However, the ERA program likely underserved Asian renters and, in some states, Latino renters. 

Researchers at the OES worked with Treasury to estimate the demographic characteristics of renters receiving ERA from January 2021 to June 2022. They also constructed a demographic profile of renters eligible for ERA based on income, financial hardship, and housing instability data from the 2015-2019 American Community Survey, the 2020 Household Pulse Survey, and the 2020 Current Population Survey. Researchers compared the demographic estimates of ERA recipients to the profiles of renters eligible for ERA to understand the extent to which the distribution of ERA was equitable by income, race and ethnicity, and gender.

The Treasury ERA program served a high share of renters with extremely low incomes: only 36% of eligible renters in the profile had extremely low incomes, while 64% of renters served had extremely low incomes. ERA recipients were also more likely to be women, who made up 56% of all eligible renters but 69% of all ERA recipients.

The program served a high share of Black renters, across both states and income groups. Black renters made up only 23% of profiled renters eligible for ERA but 46% of all ERA recipients. Black renters were consistently more likely to receive assistance across all income groups, which included renters with incomes less than or equal to 30% of AMI, renters with incomes between 30 and 50% of AMI, and renters with incomes between 50 and 80% of AMI. In addition, nearly all states served a high share of Black renters compared to each state’s profile: in Missouri, for example, Black renters were overrepresented by 39 percentage points among ERA recipients compared to renters eligible for ERA.

The Treasury ERA program likely underserved Asian renters as a whole and Latino renters in certain states. Only 3% of ERA recipients were Asian, even though Asian renters make up 6% of renters eligible for ERA. At the national level, the share of ERA recipients who were Latino was similar to the share of eligible renters who were Latino (29% and 28%, respectively), but states differed in how well they served Latino renters. For example, Latino renters were overrepresented by 76 percentage points in North Carolina but underrepresented by 16 to 17 percentage points in Nevada, Texas, and Florida. Further, extremely low-income Latino renters were more likely to receive assistance, while Latino renters with higher incomes were less likely to receive assistance.

The research can be found at: