The federal Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) program provides direct funding to states and eligible units of local governments, including counties with populations of over 200,000, to assist families struggling to make rental and utility payments. Counties with populations below 200,000 may receive a suballocation from their state.

The program was established by the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, which provided $25 billion for the first round of the program, known as ERA1. The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) provided $21.6 billion for an additional round of the program, known as ERA2, including $2.5 billion in targeted assistance to the highest need areas.

The U.S. Treasury Department, which is responsible for administering the ERA program, has fully distributed the $25 billion provided for ERA1. Treasury has made available all ERA2 funds. To view ERA1 payments to states and eligible units of local government, click here. To view ERA2 allocations, click here.

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Program Guidance

Implementation and Administration Guidance

Treasury has continued to release and provide updated Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) guiding implementation and administration of both rounds of the ERA program. The most recent set of FAQs was released on August 25, 2021 and are available to view here.

The table below outlines key pieces of the FAQs released by Treasury so far, as well as critical differences in guidance between ERA1 and ERA2.

 

ERA1

ERA2

Funding Deadline

Funding expires September 30, 2022

Funding expires September 30, 2025

Reallocation of Funds

Beginning September 30, 2021, Treasury will recapture any excess unobligated funds and reallocate them to grantees that have obligated at least 65 percent of their funds.

Beginning March 31, 2022 Treasury will begin to reallocate unobligated funds to grantees that obligated at least 50 percent of their funds.

Direct to Tenant Option

Grantees must make reasonable efforts to obtain the cooperation of landlords and utility providers to accept payments.

Outreach will be considered complete if the landlord or utiity provider does not respond within 7 days after reaching out by mail; if the grantee has attempted to reach the landlord or utility three times by phone, text or email over a 5-day period; or if a landlord confirms they do not wish to participate.

Grantees are not required to obtain the cooperation of the landlord or utility provider before providing direct assistance to the tenant.

Funds can be used to provide assistance to renters first and immediately.

Documentation Requirements

Grantees are strongly encouraged to avoid establishing rigorous documentation requirements and are allowed to verify household eligibility based on reasonable, fact-specific proxies.

Same as ERA1.

Eviction Prohibition

Grantees must prohibit landlords receiving ERA funds from evicting tenants during the period covered by assistance.

Grantees are encouraged to prohibit landlords receiving funds for rental arrears from evicting the tenant for nonpayment of rent for some period.

Grantees are further encouraged to prohibit landlords receiving ERA funds from evicting tenants for 30 to 90 days after the period covered by assistance.

Same as ERA1.

Administrative Costs

Up to 10 percent of the total amount paid to a grantee may be used for administrative costs related to providing financial assistance and housing stability services. Funds can be used for direct or indirect costs.

Grantees may allow their subrecipients to spend more than 10 percent of their subaward on administrative costs if the grantee’s total administrative costs (incurred by both the grantee and subrecipient) are not more than 10 percent.

Up to 15 percent of the amount paid to a grantee may be used for administrative costs related to providing financial assistance, housing stability services and other affordable rental housing and eviction prevention activities.

Grantees may allow their subrecipients to spend more than 15 percent of their subaward on administrative costs if the grantee’s total administrative costs (incurred by both the grantee and subrecipient) are not more than 15 percent.

Assistance Cap

An eligible household may receive up to 12 months of assistance, plus an additional 3 months if necessary to ensure housing stability, depending on the availability of funds.

An eligible household may receive up to 18 months of assistance, including any assistance provided under ERA1.

Housing Stability Services

Housing stability services include case management and other services related to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Housing stability services include case management and other services. These do not have to be related to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Other Expenses

Other expenses must be related to housing and incurred due, directly or indirectly, to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Other expenses must be related to housing but do not need to be incurred due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Rental Arrears

If an applicant has rental arrears, the grantee cannot make commitments for prospective rent payments unless it has also provided payments towards the rental arrears.

Grantees are not required to make payments towards an applicant’s rental arrears before committing to prospective rent payments.

Federally Assisted Housing

Eligible households living in federally assisted housing may receive ERA assistance, as long as ERA1 funds are not applied to costs that have been or will be covered by other federal assistance.

Grantees may use self-attestation to verify that the rental assistance is not duplicative.

Grantees are prohibited from refusing assistance to households solely on the basis that they live in federally assisted housing.

Grantees may use self-attestation to verify that the rental assistance is not duplicative. 

Reporting Guidance

Treasury has also released guidance on ERA reporting requirements for state and local government grantees. The most recent version of ERA Reporting Guidance was published on October 7, 2021.

Quarterly Reports

All state and local governments that received an ERA award during the first round of the program (ERA1) and/or the second round of the program (ERA2) must submit a quarterly report that includes all recipient, subrecipient and contractor activities for the award. The report must also provide performance and financial information, including background information about the ERA project that is the subject of the report; participant (household, beneficiary) data; and financial information with details about obligations, expenditures, direct payments and subawards.

State and local government recipients that received both an ERA1 and an ERA2 award must submit two separate reports in each reporting period (i.e., one for each award). All reports must be submitted to Treasury’s online portal. A user guide for the portal is available here and a data dictionary can be viewed here.

Full quarterly reporting began in Q3 2021.

Monthly Reports

In addition to the quarterly reports, state and local recipients that received ERA1 and/or ERA2 awards must also submit brief monthly reports that cover the total number of participating households and the total amount of ERA funds expended.

Reporting Schedule

A chart of reporting periods and submission deadlines for ERA1 and ERA2 awards is available below.

ERA1 Award Reports – Upcoming Reporting Periods and Submission Deadlines

Cycle

Calendar Quarter / Month & Year

Reporting Period

Submission Deadline

Monthly 5

August Monthly

August 1 – August 31, 2021

September 15, 2021

1

Q1 2021

Award Date – March 30, 2021

October 29, 2021*

2

Q2 2021

April 1 – June 30, 2021

October 29, 2021*

3

Q3 2021

Jul 1 – September 30, 2021

October 29, 2021*

4

Q4 2021

October 1 – December 31, 2021

January 17, 2022

5

Q1 2022

Jan 1 – March 31, 2022

April 15, 2022

6

Q2 2022

April 1 – June 30, 2022

July 15, 2022

7

Q3 2022

July 1 – September 30, 2022

October 17, 2022

8

Final Report

January 31, 2023

ERA2 Award Reports – Upcoming Reporting Periods and Submission Deadlines

Cycle

Calendar Quarter / Month & Year

Reporting Period

Submission Deadline

Monthly 3

August Monthly

August 1 – August 31, 2021

September 15, 2021

1

Q2 2021

Award Date – June 30, 2021

October 29, 2021*

2

Q3 2021

July 1 – September 30, 2021

October 29, 2021*

3

Q4 2021

October 1 – December 31, 2021

January 17, 2022

4

Q1 2022

January 1 – March 31, 2022

April 15, 2022

5

Q2 2022

April 1 – June 30, 2022

July 15, 2022

6

Q3 2022

July 1 – September 30, 2022

October 17, 2022

7

Q4 2022

October 1 – December 31, 2022

January 16, 2023

8

Q1 2023

January 1 – March 31, 2023

April 17, 2023

9

Q2 2023

April 1 – June 30, 2023

July 17, 2023

10

Q3 2023

July 1 – September 30, 2023

October 16, 2023

11

Q4 2023

October 1 – December 31, 2023

January 15, 2024

12

Q1 2024

January 1 – March 31, 2024

April 15, 2024

13

Q2 2024

April 1 – June 30, 2024

July 15, 2024

14

Q3 2024

July 1 – September 30, 2024

October 15, 2024

15

Q4 2024

October 1 – December 31, 2024

January 15, 2025

16

Q1 2025

January 1 – March 31, 2025

April 15, 2025

17

Q2 2025

April 1 – June 30, 2025

July 15, 2025

18

Q3 2025

July 1 – September 30, 2025

October 15, 2025

19

Final Report

January 31, 2026

*ERA recipients may request an extension from Treasury, but must do so by the deadline.

Recoupment and Reallocation of ERA1 Funds

The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, which established and provided $25 billion for ERA1, directed Treasury to recapture and reallocate “excess” ERA1 funds beginning on September 30, 2021. 

On October 4, Treasury published guidance outlining how it plans to recoup and redistribute these funds, emphasizing that Treasury intends to direct resources to grantees that have been successful in administering the program and to those areas with the highest need.

On January 7, 2022, Treasury announced the first round of reallocation of "excess" ERA1 funds. During this first round, Treasury will disburse over $1.1 billion in ERA1 funds, 75 percent of which are significant, one-time voluntary transfers between ERA1 grantees located wtihin the same state. 

According to the guidance, Treasury is taking the following approach to recapturing and reallocating "excess" ERA1 funds:

Expand All

Definition of Obligated Funds

The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 requires Treasury to identify any “excess” funds that have not yet been obligated by a grantee from their initial ERA1 allocation and to reallocate those funds to grantees that have obligated at least 65 percent. Obligated funds, as defined by Treasury in the new guidance, include those that:

  • Have been spent to provide financial assistance or housing stability services
  • Have been earmarked to pay for assistance promised in a commitment letter to a landlord in order to persuade them to enter into a rental agreement, as detailed in Treasury’s ERA FAQ #35
  • Are needed to fulfill a contractual obligation in which assistance has been approved but not yet paid to a landlord or utility provider

Notably, as grantees may spend up to 10 percent of their ERA1 allocation on administrative costs, that percentage will automatically be considered as obligated by Treasury.

Grantees are required to submit an Obligated Funds Certification, detailing the amount of ERA1 funds obligated through September 30, 2021. Those grantees that have obligated less than 65 percent of their allocation by that date, or that do not submit a certification, will be required to submit a Program Improvement Plan to Treasury by November 15, 2021.

Identification of Excess Funds

In addition to the amount of funds obligated, Treasury will also assess grantees’ expenditure ratio every two months, beginning September 30, 2021. Treasury will determine a grantee’s expenditure ratio using the following calculation:

  • The grantee’s total expenditure of ERA1 funds, as listed on interim and monthly reports to Treasury, divided by 90 percent of the grantee’s total ERA1 allocation.

If funds are recouped, the grantee’s total ERA1 allocation will be adjusted.

Treasury will conduct its ‘First Assessment’ of a grantee’s expenditure ratio using reporting data through September 30, 2021. Grantees’ whose expenditure ratio for the First Assessment is below 30 percent will be thought of as having excess funds. After the First Assessment, the minimum expenditure ratio will increase by 5 percent each month.

The amount of a grantees’ excess funds will be considered as the difference between:

  • The amount of expenditures necessary for the grantee to achieve the minimum expenditure ratio; and
  • The grantee’s total reported expenditures.

Treasury’s final assessment of grantees’ expenditure ratios will be based on data reported through March 31, 2022. Any remaining unobligated ERA1 funds identified by that date will be treated as excess funds.

Mitigating Factors for Excess Funds

There are three circumstances under which Treasury may reduce or not make a determination of excess funds, including if:

  • There are exigent circumstances, such as a natural disaster;
  • A grantee submits a certification stating that it has obligated at least 65 percent of its allocation, or that its expenditure ratio is at least 30 percent by November 15; or
  • If Treasury approves a grantee’s Program Improvement Plan.

As stated above, grantees that have obligated less than 65 percent of their allocation by September 30, 2021, must submit a Program Improvement Plan to Treasury by November 15. If Treasury approves the plan, any reduction in the grantee’s excess funds determination may not exceed the amount of total assistance expenditures necessary for the expenditure ratio to equal 15 percent.

Returning Excess Funds to Treasury

If funds are deemed to be in excess following the First Assessment and each subsequent assessment, Treasury will notify a grantee in writing, providing instructions for the funds’ return. Grantees must return such funds within 10 days of receiving the notice.

Reallocation of Excess Funds

Grantees that have obligated at least 65 percent of their initial ERA1 allocation may begin to request access to recaptured funds beginning on October 15, 2021, using this form. To request reallocated funds during teh second round or reallocation, grantees must submit a separate form, available here, to Treasury's portal by January 21, 2022.

Treasury will assess each request based on the grantee’s ability to meet and exceed the minimum expenditure ratio as well as the grantee’s jurisdictional need for additional ERA funds.

If the demand for reallocated funds exceeds the supply, each grantee’s share will be calculated by:

  • Dividing the grantee’s approved reallocation request by the aggregate amount of requested reallocated funds approved by Treasury; and
  • Multiplying this percentage by the total amount of funds available for distribution.

Treasury will also endeavor to reallocate recaptured funds from one grantee to another within the same state.

Further, while grantees must obligate all ERA1 funds from their initial allocation by September 30, 2022, those grantees who receive a reallocation may request an extension through December 29, 2022.

Treasury will distribute reallocated funds based on the following priorities:

  1. First, Treasury will prioritize requests for reallocated funds from grantees serving jurisdictions in the same state where the excess funds were initially allocated.
  2. After these funds have been distributed, Treasury will then prioritize requests for reallocated funds from grantees that have spent nearly all of their ERA1 and ERA2 allocations. These grantees will be prioritized based on their expenditures. 
  3. Remaining funds will be available in a single pool for reallocation nationwide. These funds will be distributed proportionally based on grantees' needs.

Voluntary Reallocation

Grantees can request to transfer some or all of their ERA1 allocation to another grantee that administers an ERA1 program within the same state and has obligated at least 65 percent of its own allocation beginning September 30, 2021. Grantees wishing to transfer their funds must submit a signed letter to Treasury that details the amount of funds they wish to reallocate and recommendations on how the funding could be redistributed to other grantees in the same state.

Administrative Expenses

Grantees may spend up to 10 percent of their initial ERA1 allocation on administrative expenses only if they have obligated at least 30 percent of that initial allocation for the provision of financial assistance and housing stability services by September 30, 2022. If they obligate less than 30 percent of their initial allocation for the provision of financial assistance and housing stability services, Treasury will conclude that the grantee's administrative expenses were not attributable to these activities and, as such, were not permissible uses of ERA1 funds.

 

Treasury Resources

Treasury has published several promising practices around eviction diversion and has encouraged state and local grantees to make use of the following resource to improve efficiencies within their local ERA programs:

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