WASHINGTON – Yesterday, Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Wally Adeyemo hosted a roundtable discussion with administrators of Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) programs. This group largely consisted of grantees who have stood up rental assistance programs in their states, from scratch. As a result, many of their programs only recently started seeing significant progress in delivering swifter assistance to struggling landlords and tenants in their communities. The Deputy Secretary convened this particular group to gather best practices that can be applied by other ERA recipients across the country.
Many grantees conveyed that they are working with their local court systems to ensure anyone facing eviction first has the opportunity to apply for ERA and to prevent eviction cases from moving forward when ERA applications are pending. Program administrators also reported taking advantage of the flexibilities Treasury has provided in its recent guidance and that it further expanded this week to reduce unduly burdensome documentation requirements, including more flexibility in income documentation, enhancing use of self-attestation, leveraging income-based proxies, and providing more streamlined application options for those who already qualify for various public benefits, such as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program.
Across the board, participating grantees highlighted the critical role outreach and support with the application process have played in the improvement of their programs. For example, the ERA program in Pierce County, Washington sent a postcard to every household in the county – translated into five languages – and saw a significant rise in applications from both renters and landlords. Richland County, South Carolina administrators leveraged their local library system of 13 branches, equipped with social workers and the technology needed to submit applications. By training the professionals in this existing network, administrators were able to quickly reach renters and deliver professional and comprehensive support to households.
A list of grantees that participated in the roundtable is below.
- State of California
- State of North Carolina
- State of New Jersey
- State of Mississippi
- Nashville and Davidson Counties, Tennessee
- Pierce County, Washington
- Richland County, South Carolina
- East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana
- Fulton County, Georgia
Yesterday, Deputy Secretary Adeyemo also participated in a separate call, convened by the Roosevelt Institute, with leaders of national advocacy and housing organizations to discuss continued collaboration in raising awareness of the availability of ERA assistance and to hear feedback regarding challenges and best practices on the ground. These organizations are conducting outreach efforts to direct their constituencies to ERA resources, including the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Rental Assistance Finder, which connects people to ERA programs in their area.