The U.S. Department of the Treasury (Treasury) published a resource on September 16 regarding the upcoming closeout of emergency rental assistance funds provided through the “Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021” – referred to as “ERA1” funds – that have a period of performance that ends on September 30, 2022. The resource outlines closeout information and provides additional guidance to help grantees comply with ERA1 terms and conditions.
Closeout Overview and Timeline: The first section of the ERA1 closeout resource details the basic closeout requirements and timeline. Grantees must close out their ERA1 awards after the period of performance ends on September 30, 2022. Grantees that received reallocated funds may choose to begin closeout after September 30 or to delay closeout until after December 29, 2022. After grantees submit the final report, Treasury will conduct a closeout review of ERA1 funds. This may include asking grantees to verify closeout information, sending repayment instructions to grantees, engaging grantees to resolve issues, and initiating remediation actions. See page 2 of the resource for closeout deadlines.
Closeout Activities: The end date of the award period of performance is the final day for a grantee to obligate funds for ERA1 activities. All program activities and services must be provided by September 30 (or December 29, in the case of reallocated funds). Funds available for administrative costs are not considered to be “automatically obligated,” so grantees must obligate funds by the end of the period of performance to cover their administrative costs for closeout activities. Obligated funds may be expended by grantees for up to 120 calendar days after the end of the award period of performance for eligible administrative activities; subrecipients may expend obligated funds up to 90 days after the end of the period of performance for allowable administrative activities.
If a grantee has obligated funds for administrative activities by the end of the period of performance, it may use the funds to cover certain allowable operational activities. The ERA1 closeout resource outlines a non-exhaustive list of allowable operational activities, such as administrative expenses to support closeout activities, payment processing for approved ERA1 applicants, and single or program-specific audits, among others.
After the end of the award period of performance, ERA1 grantees cannot provide prospective rental or utility assistance or cover costs for other expenses related to housing or housing stability services for any period beyond September 30 (or December 29, in the case of reallocated funds). Additionally, after the period of performance ends, ERA1 grantees cannot obligate new funds to support administrative activities or use funds to assess applicant eligibility for ERA1 services.
Reports and Repayment: Under certain circumstances, Treasury may accept the return of ERA1 funds on a voluntary basis prior to the end of the award period of performance to reallocate those funds to other grantees. The closeout resource provides additional information on regular quarterly reports and the final report that ERA1 grantees must submit. After receiving the grantee’s final report, Treasury will send repayment instructions and deadlines for previously obligated funds that were not fully expended by the grantee by the end of the closeout period. Additionally, Treasury will send repayment instructions and deadlines if a grantee owes money due to excess funds, penalties, improper use of funds, or other non-compliance.
Internal Controls and Compliance Reminders: Treasury outlines a non-exhaustive list of internal controls and compliance requirements for federal awards that ERA grantees must meet. Each grantee, for example, must comply with Uniform Guidance regulations on financial management (2 CFR 200.302), records retention and document requirements in the ERA1 Award Terms, and the statutory requirements. Further, grantees must comply with federal civil rights statutes and regulations, including Title VI of the “Civil Rights Act of 1964,” Section 504 of the “Rehabilitation Act of 1973,” the “Age Discrimination Act of 1975,” and the “Fair Housing Act” (Title VIII of the “Civil Rights Act of 1968”). Grantees can learn more about their civil rights obligations in the Treasury Civil Rights Toolkit. Additionally, ERA1 grantees must ensure their program policies and procedures align with Treasury’s ERA program guidance.
Audit Requirements: Treasury highlights basic information about audit requirements in the closeout resource but directs grantees to 2 CFR 200.508 for more detailed information. Grantees may use ERA1 award funds towards audit costs as long as the costs are obligated before the end of the period of performance and expended within 120 calendar days (or 90 days in the case of subrecipients) after the period of performance. Grantees that expend $750,000 or more from all federal awards received within the fiscal year must undergo a single audit or program-specific audit at the end of each fiscal year. Grantees with audit findings must work with Treasury, as appropriate, to resolve those findings. Treasury directs grantees to check Treasury’s ERA Guidance webpage for additional compliance resources, such as the 2022 ERA Compliance Supplement.
FAQ References: The closeout resource includes a non-exhaustive list of Treasury FAQs that refer to various documentation requirements, administrative flexibilities, and program integrity measures. For example, ERA grantees can find information on data collection requirements in FAQ 14 and learn about ERA recoupment in FAQ 25.
Read the ERA1 Program Closeout Resource at: https://bit.ly/3Lt6MdT