The Department of the Treasury announced Friday (May 21) that it has distributed $6.1 billion to help landlords and tenants through the Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) program.
Part of the American Rescue Plan, the $21.6 billion ERA program is designed to prevent evictions and “ensure basic housing security for millions of Americans impacted by the affordable housing challenges exacerbated by COVID-19,” the department said in a news release.
“The pandemic has exacerbated America’s already severe housing affordability crisis, threatening the security and livelihoods of families and landlords through no fault of their own,” said Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Wally Adeyemo. “Treasury is committed to providing direct, rapid support to those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and addressing the deep disparities in our housing systems that threaten our economic recovery.”
Close to 7 million Americans reported being behind on their rent last month, with 40 percent of them worrying they’ll face eviction before July.
“There are almost 12 million Americans who lack confidence that they can make next month’s rent,” the news release said. “Evictions can have long-lasting consequences for families — potentially disrupting school, worsening health, displacing neighborhood networks of support, and making it more difficult to find safe, affordable housing in the future.”
This has been an issue since the start of the pandemic. As PYMNTS reported last May, 91.5 percent of renters in professionally managed buildings had made payments at the time of the reporting, compared to 95.6 percent the same period in 2019.
The Treasury said the funds will benefit landlords and renters alike and make sure communities whose affordable housing needs were impacted by COVID can continue to help their people.
For more on tools available to help people during the pandemic, read our March report on the new head of Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and his plan to assist consumers.