The US Department of the Treasury today released guidance in the form of updated frequently asked questions (FAQs) and fact sheet to continue supporting the rapid deployment of Emergency Rental Assistance by states, territories, localities, and tribal governments. The FAQs build on prior actions to provide state and local governments with the tools they need to deliver relief to renters in need by helping grantees with implementation and best practices.
The fact sheet is available here.
The FAQs are available here.
According to the US Department of the Treasury:
Summarized below, Treasury’s updated FAQs offer additional clarity for grantees and work in concert with guidance and actions being taken by other federal agencies.
- Strongly encourage partnerships with courts to actively prevent evictions and develop eviction diversion programs. Emergency Rental Assistance funds can be used to help families at-risk of eviction remain in their homes, including working with courts to connect such families and their landlords with mediation and emergency rental assistance resources, engaging providers of housing stability services for active support, and entering into agreements with courts to cover the costs of eviction diversion activities. New Treasury FAQs also make clear that funds from the State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds can be used to support these activities and a wide range of other eviction prevention and housing stability services.
- Help families experiencing homelessness gain access to assistance. For vulnerable families that do not have a current rental obligation—which is a requirement for emergency rental assistance eligibility—Treasury is creating a commitment letter process to help those families gain access to assistance. ERA can help families who have lost, or are at imminent risk of losing, their housing, by paying for relocation assistance, prospective rent, security deposits, and temporary hotel accommodations.
- Drive towards equal access by removing language and cultural barriers in securing emergency rental assistance. Treasury is strongly encouraging grantees to provide culturally and linguistically-relevant housing stability services and to conduct outreach in multiple languages so that eligible families do not face unnecessary barriers to access. Grantees who cannot provide such services themselves should be engaging partners with the capacity to do so to ensure equal access to emergency rental assistance for all eligible households.
- Provide a streamlined payment option for utility providers and large landlords to make accessing emergency rental assistance on behalf of multiple tenants easier and more attractive. Treasury is clarifying how grantees may achieve economies of scale by obtaining information in bulk from utility providers and landlords with multiple units to help speed the determination of household eligibility and to bundle, in a single payment, approved amounts for the benefit of multiple eligible tenants.
- Encourage grantee coordination to reduce the burdens, and delays in providing assistance created by differences in locally-imposed requirements among programs operating in the same regions. Grantees providing services to overlapping or neighboring areas should collaborate to develop consistent or complementary policies to avoid unnecessary confusion or burdens for families or landlords seeking aid.
- Lifting up grantees implementing effective practices to ensure that assistance quickly reaches the renters who need it most. Treasury is highlighting promising practices from the field, including successful examples of partnership with local court systems and legal services to divert evictions and prevent housing insecurity, and programs taking advantage of options to reduce documentation barriers that keep eligible families from benefiting from ERA—including automating application processing and approaches for verifying income to simplify and speed eligibility determinations, such as leveraging fact-specific proxies like area median incomes.