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U.S. Treasury releases updated guidance on emergency rental assistance program

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    U.S. Treasury releases updated guidance on emergency rental assistance program

    On Feb. 22, the U.S. Treasury Department released an updated Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) document on the new $25 billion emergency rental assistance program (ERA) established in the year-end COVID-19 relief and omnibus spending package. Counties with populations above 200,000 residents were eligible for direct funding and 271 counties applied to Treasury for their allocations. The revised FAQs released by the Biden Administration support priorities NACo expressed in writing and during listening sessions with White House and Treasury officials. These included enhancing the program’s flexibility, reducing the administrative burden on grantees and including counties in order to operate program and efficiently distribute funding to families in need. 

    Specifically, the revised FAQs: 

    • Permit payments to public utilities, a helpful addition for renters in counties with publicly-owned utilities. 

    • Shorten the timeframe by which renters can apply for funding directly if a landlord refuses to respond or participate in the ERAP from 21 days to 14 days if the notice sent via postal mail and to 10 days for a notice via email. 

    • Allow renters to “self-attest” to meeting most ERA program eligibility criteria, including income, housing stability and the amount of rental arrears owed, provided that certain safeguards are met.  

    • Permit grantees to use ERA payments to make subawards to other entities, including non-profit organizations and local governments, to administer ERA programs on behalf of grantees. 

    • Allow internet costs needed for distance learning, telework and telehealth for families to be covered under “other expenses” and reasonable accrued late fees not covered by rental or utility arrears due to COVID-19. 

    • Confirm that up to 10 percent of funding for ERA can be used for housing stability services and includes housing counseling and legal assistance for renters facing eviction as a covered expense. 

    • Note that Treasury may recoup ERA funds from a grantee if the grantee does not comply with the applicable limitations on the use of funding. 

    To view the revised FAQs from the Treasury Department, please click here. The Department plans to issue more robust guidance on the program and updates to the FAQs periodically. NACo has developed a web resource page on the emergency rental assistance program, and also hosted a two-part webinar series on the program. Part I is available here and Part II is available here. NACo plans to host a webinar with Treasury officials in the coming weeks.

    Revised emergency rental assistance program FAQs include improvements recommended by NACo
    2021-02-23
    Blog
    2021-02-26
U.S. Treasury update FAQs on new $25 billion emergency rental assistance program Revised emergency rental assistance program FAQs include improvements recommended by NACo

On Feb. 22, the U.S. Treasury Department released an updated Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) document on the new $25 billion emergency rental assistance program (ERA) established in the year-end COVID-19 relief and omnibus spending package. Counties with populations above 200,000 residents were eligible for direct funding and 271 counties applied to Treasury for their allocations. The revised FAQs released by the Biden Administration support priorities NACo expressed in writing and during listening sessions with White House and Treasury officials. These included enhancing the program’s flexibility, reducing the administrative burden on grantees and including counties in order to operate program and efficiently distribute funding to families in need. 

Specifically, the revised FAQs: 

  • Permit payments to public utilities, a helpful addition for renters in counties with publicly-owned utilities. 

  • Shorten the timeframe by which renters can apply for funding directly if a landlord refuses to respond or participate in the ERAP from 21 days to 14 days if the notice sent via postal mail and to 10 days for a notice via email. 

  • Allow renters to “self-attest” to meeting most ERA program eligibility criteria, including income, housing stability and the amount of rental arrears owed, provided that certain safeguards are met.  

  • Permit grantees to use ERA payments to make subawards to other entities, including non-profit organizations and local governments, to administer ERA programs on behalf of grantees. 

  • Allow internet costs needed for distance learning, telework and telehealth for families to be covered under “other expenses” and reasonable accrued late fees not covered by rental or utility arrears due to COVID-19. 

  • Confirm that up to 10 percent of funding for ERA can be used for housing stability services and includes housing counseling and legal assistance for renters facing eviction as a covered expense. 

  • Note that Treasury may recoup ERA funds from a grantee if the grantee does not comply with the applicable limitations on the use of funding. 

To view the revised FAQs from the Treasury Department, please click here. The Department plans to issue more robust guidance on the program and updates to the FAQs periodically. NACo has developed a web resource page on the emergency rental assistance program, and also hosted a two-part webinar series on the program. Part I is available here and Part II is available here. NACo plans to host a webinar with Treasury officials in the coming weeks.

About Daria Daniel (Full Bio)

Associate Legislative Director – Community, Economic & Workforce Development & Liaison to the Large Urban County Caucus

Daria Daniel is the Associate Legislative Director for Community, Economic and Workforce Development at NACo. Daria is responsible for all policy development and lobbying for the association in the areas of housing, community, economic and workforce development. She also serves as the liaison to the Large Urban County Caucus (LUCC).

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