Treasury: $2.9B in rent relief reached tenants in November

By Ed Felker
Posted January 7, 2022 at 3:50pm

State and local governments delivered $2.9 billion in emergency rental assistance to tenants and landlords in November, the highest monthly amount to date, according to data the Treasury Department released Friday.

State and local governments got off to a slow start in getting aid to renters and landlords, but have sped up in the last several months. November was the third month running that disbursements topped $2.8 billion.

As of the end of November, state and local governments spent about $14.6 billion total of the $25 billion in rental assistance Congress provided in a December 2020 relief bill. The monthly total also included $1.4 billion of the additional $21.6 billion Congress provided in another relief package in March, according to the data.

Programs were on track to have spent or obligated between $25 billion and $30 billion in assistance by the end of 2021, Treasury said.

The department in November transferred about $1.1 billion in aid from low-performing to high-performing programs. Congress required the department to claw back and redistribute funds from jurisdictions that missed spending deadlines for the $25 billion tranche of aid.

More than three-quarters of the redistributed funds were voluntarily transferred, Treasury said. In most of those cases, state governments transferred funds to higher-performing cities and counties within their borders.

The department credited the federal aid with keeping evictions below pre-pandemic levels, even months after the federal eviction moratorium ended in August. However, housing advocates have warned that though evictions have been down overall, troubling trends have emerged in cities with weak tenant protections.

In Las Vegas, eviction filings from August to November last year exceeded historical averages by 26 percent, according to a December analysis by the Eviction Lab. Filings have neared historic averages in Houston, Cincinnati and Columbus, Ohio, and Gainesville, Fla., according to the research.