The U.S. Department of the Treasury released on February 22 a new Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document to help states and communities quickly distribute more than $25 billion in emergency rental assistance (ERA) to renters in need. The revised FAQ directly addresses the significant flaws in the previous guidance issued by the Trump administration and includes many of the recommendations made by NLIHC and the NLIHC-led Disaster Housing Recovery Coalition (DHRC). The DHRC developed these recommendations with direct input from local stakeholders about challenges and lessons learned in responding to the pandemic. The recommendations are also based on NLIHC’s analysis and tracking of more than 600 state and local rental assistance programs created or expanded during the pandemic.
The updated FAQ includes the following clarifications:
- Renters may self-attest to meeting most eligibility criteria, including income, housing stability, and the amount of rent arrears, provided that certain safeguards are met. Self-attestations will help reduce the burden on program administrators and renters.
- The timeframe is shortened from 21 days to as little as 10 days before assistance can be provided directly to tenants in cases when landlords refuse to participate in the program or are unresponsive.
- Assistance can cover home internet costs needed for distance learning, telework, and telehealth, helping to keep families connected to school, work, and healthcare.
- Some of the funds may be used to provide legal assistance to renters facing eviction under certain conditions.
See NLIHC’s FAQ for more information on Treasury’s ERA program and the revised guidance.
The Department of Treasury will issue further guidance, and NLIHC and the DHRC will continue to advocate for improvements to ensure the funding reaches the lowest-income and most marginalized renters. NLIHC is preparing a letter to Treasury that outlines needed improvements and calls for additional clarity on key ERA provisions in future guidance.
Read Treasury’s new ERA guidance at https://bit.ly/3kkKuOb
Read NLIHC’s updated FAQ at https://bit.ly/3aR1Kan