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. As required by ARPA, Treasury has made available 40 percent of ERA2 funds and will continue to distribute the rest of the funding in tranches as grantees obligate the funding. To view ERA1 payments to states and eligible units of local government, click here. To view ERA2 allocations, click here.
- U.S. Treasury FAQ
- NACo ERA Survey for counties
- County-specific ERA programs and application information
- Webinar: Emergency Rental Assistance Best Practices
- Webinar: Emergency Rental Assistance Programs: Understanding ERA1 and ERA2
- Webinar: COVID-19 Rental Assistance: A Playbook for Immediate Deadlines and Program Implementation
- Webinar: COVID-19 Rental Assistance: A Playbook for Program Implementation
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 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.
|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 September 30, 2022, Treasury will 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 does not respond within 7 days after reaching out by mail; or if the grantee has attempted to reach the landlord three times by phone, text or email over a 5-day period.
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.|
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 grantees receiving ERA funds from evicting tenants for 30 to 90 days after the period covered by assistance.
|Same as ERA1.|
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 committee 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.
Treasury has also released guidance on ERA reporting requirements for state and local government grantees. The first round of the ERA Reporting Guidance was published on June 30, but Treasury issued an addendum to this document on July 15. The addendum changed the quarterly report deadlines and requirements for state and local government ERA recipients.
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 will begin in Q3 2021.
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.
Treasury is currently requiring recipients to submit monthly reports through August 2021, but may extend this further.
A chart of reporting periods and submission deadlines for ERA1 and ERA2 awards is available below.
|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 15, 2021|
|2||Q2 2021||April 1 – June 30, 2021||October 15, 2021|
|3||Q3 2021||Jul 1 – September 30, 2021||October 15, 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|
|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 15, 2021|
|2||Q3 2021||July 1 – September 30, 2021||October 15, 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|
The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 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 new 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.
According to the guidance, Treasury will take the following approach to recapturing and reallocating "excess" ERA1 funds:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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 a form that will be provided by Treasury. 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:
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.
Grantees can request to transfer some or all of their ERA1 reallocation 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 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 grantees administrative expenses were not attributable to these activities and, as such, were not permissible uses of ERA1 funds.
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:
- Promising Practices Around Eviction Diversion
- Example Self-Attestation Forms
- Partnerships in Program Implementation
- Culturally and Linguistically Competent Outreach
- Intentional Landlord Engagement
- Partnerships with Broader Eviction Diversion Programs
- 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 Application Prioritization
- Data-Driven Program Strategies
- Program Web sites