Calling on state and local governments to ease documentation requirements under the federal Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) program, the U.S. Treasury Department (Treasury) recently released examples of streamlined self-attestation forms for use by program grantees. Treasury released the sample forms to help expedite the delivery of rental assistance under the program and ensure that local level ERA programs are as effective as possible. In addition to the forms, Treasury is also hosting information sessions and providing technical support to help state and local grantees, including counties, identify methods to increase the efficiency of their ERA programs.
Treasury has encouraged grantees to make use of the documentation flexibilities outlined in ERA guidance released by the department. Treasury is advising grantees to allow renters to use self-attestation to prove they meet ERA eligibility requirements, including COVID-related hardships, income, housing stability and the amount of rental arrears owed. Grantees are also allowed to verify income eligibility using on fact-based proxies, such as residence in a low-income neighborhood.
In addition to the streamlined self-attestation forms, Treasury released a number of other resources that counties can take advantage of to strengthen their ERA programs and deliver assistance those in need more quickly. These include:
- Promising practices around eviction diversion
- Partnerships in program implementation
- Culturally and linguistically competent outreach
- Intentional landlord engagements
- Collaboration with local utility companies
- Adjusting program strategies to meet local needs
- Making the application process simple and user friendly
- Using fact-specific proxies to establish applicant income
- Automation supporting applicant prioritization
- Data-driven program strategies
NACo will continue to work with Treasury to advocate for county priorities as the Department provides assistance for both renters and homeowners. NACo has also established a federal Emergency Rental Assistance program resource hub, a COVID-19 Recovery Clearinghouse and a breakdown of funding provided in the American Rescue Plan Act, which counties can utilize to navigate the funding and assistance available to them as they work to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic at the local level.
- NACo Blog: Treasury releases updated FAQs on federal Emergency Rental Assistance program
- NACo Blog: Treasury issues addendum to Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) reporting guidance
- Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Rental Assistance Finder tool