Just $3 billion in rent relief has gone out, with CDC eviction ban set to end

Samantha Fields Jul 23, 2021
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Demonstrators march in the street during a "Cancel Rent and Mortgages" rally in June 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Brandon Bell via Getty Images

Just $3 billion in rent relief has gone out, with CDC eviction ban set to end

Samantha Fields Jul 23, 2021
Heard on:
Demonstrators march in the street during a "Cancel Rent and Mortgages" rally in June 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Brandon Bell via Getty Images
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Rental assistance is finally starting to get out more quickly to tenants and landlords. The Treasury Department said this week that $1.5 billion was distributed in June — more than in the previous three months combined.

But it’s still slow going. Just about 6.5% of the nearly $50 billion Congress allocated for rent relief has gone out so far.

And the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s federal eviction moratorium is set to expire in just over a week.

The main reason it’s taking so long for rent relief to get to the people who need it?

“We’re trying to scale up an emergency Rental Assistance Program over a year into this pandemic,” said Will Fischer with the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

When Congress approved those billions in rent relief, there was almost no infrastructure in place to distribute the money, he said.

Now, there are hundreds of programs processing applications. But tenants are being buried under a pile of paperwork, said Zach Neumann of the COVID-19 Eviction Defense Project.

“There are a lot of forms that clients have to fill out. Once clients have completed their portion, their landlord has documents to submit, and it really is a time-consuming process,” Neumann said.

With the CDC moratorium about to expire states need to put policies in place to protect people while they’re waiting for rent relief, he said.

One option?

“Basically making application for rental assistance, a full defense to eviction. So, if you’ve applied for rental assistance, you can take that the court, and the judge will say, ‘We’re going to dismiss this case for now,'” Neumann said.

And give the rental assistance more time to come through.

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