The U.S. Department of the Treasury (Treasury) has made funding available to assist eligible households with rent, utilities, and other expenses related to housing through the Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) Programs. Treasury made ERA awards directly to states, the District of Columbia, U.S. territories, local governments, Indian tribes or their Tribally Designated Housing Entities, and the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands. These ERA grantees have some flexibility to develop their rental assistance program to suit the needs of their local community, while complying with requirements outlined in their ERA financial assistance agreement, the relevant ERA statute, and Treasury’s guidance.
Treasury has engaged with ERA grantees across the country to identify program strategies that promise to speed up program implementation, more efficiently deliver program benefits, enhance program integrity, and improve tenant and landlord access to programs—particularly for vulnerable and harder to reach populations. As grantees across the country build program infrastructure designed to meet the specific needs of their communities, many have relied on leveraging local resources, data-driven operational analyses, and incorporating continuous operational improvement strategies into their regular practices
Some examples of promising practices include: 1
- 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
- Implementing Program Integrity Measures
- Making the Application Process Simple and User Friendly
A housing stability and supply playbook is now available to assist local, state, territorial, and Tribal governments with promising practices for effectively using their awards from programs established by the American Rescue Plan Act to help more households stay in their homes through both housing stability services and/or expanding housing supply.
While the Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) programs address the immediate financial distress faced by tenants and landlords during the COVID-19 pandemic, ERA can also serve as a catalyst to pilot solutions for existing gaps in the housing ecosystem and support long-term housing stability for renters.
ERA and other Treasury programs, like the Homeowner Assistance Fund (HAF) and State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) programs can provide support for a household at multiple points of the housing continuum and provide assistance and services that relieve pressure on tenants and homeowners by keeping them in their homes. These programs have allowed communities to be innovative in finding housing solutions, explore ways to improve existing housing stability issues and increase the availability of affordable rental housing.
1 Treasury recognizes that programs vary according to local circumstances; these examples are intended to help grantees identify opportunities to enhance the effectiveness of their own programs but may not be universally applicable to all grantees. The program information provided herein is intended solely to illuminate “promising practices” that grantees might consider when developing their jurisdiction’s program policies and infrastructure. All such policy development must proceed in accordance with the governing legal authorities and published policy guidance. Nothing herein should be construed as (i) altering these requirements or (ii) confirming that any specific grantee’s program policies or administrative practices have been fully reviewed and found compliant.