Economy1 hour ago (Jan 07, 2022 03:40PM ET)
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen at the United States Department of the Treasury headquarters in Washington, D.C., U.S., August 29, 2020. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly/File Photo
By David Lawder
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Treasury Department said on Friday it disbursed about $2.9 billion in Emergency Rental Assistance funds to 665,000 renters and landlords during November, putting the program on pace for full-year 2021 obligations of $25 billion-$30 billion.
The Treasury also said it disbursed $1.1 billion to communities deemed eligible for more funds as part of a reallocation process started at the end of September. More than three quarters of these transfers were accomplished through voluntary transfers between communities in the same state.
Rental assistance funding of $46.5 billion was approved in two COVID-19 aid bills in December 2020 and March 2021. But the locally administered program was slow to ramp up, with some jurisdictions taking longer to launch programs and others facing less demand from renters and landlords.
Communities that had obligated at least 65% of their first-round allocation were eligible for additional funds, while those allocating less than 30% stood to lose funds.
Many communities were seeking ways to boost their performance to avoid having funding allocations shifted elsewhere.
The biggest recipient of a voluntary transfer was Indianapolis, receiving $91.45 million from Indiana’s statewide allocation, according to Treasury data. Milwaukee County received $50 million from Wisconsin’s statewide allocation, while the city of Milwaukee received $61 million and the city of Madison received $35 million.
The Treasury said communities seeking funds from the second reallocation round had until Jan. 21 to do so.
“Treasury is encouraging states and localities to use other sources of funds, including the $350 billion Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds, to provide additional support to renters – as several communities are already doing,” the department said.
November marked a new high for disbursements and the third straight month above $2.8 billion and 500,000 recipients.
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