Mad scramble at deadline to get aid to tenants

More than $300 million in federal money still unspent

Mad scramble at deadline to get aid to tenants

More than 400 state and local governments are scrambling to allocate funding from the federal CARES Act intended to provide at least $4.3 billion in rental assistance.

The money could save some tenants from eviction and help landlords pay their mortgages.

However, with just two weeks left to distribute it, jurisdictions have more than $300 million left, the New York Times reported.

They blame bureaucratic hurdles, competing budget demands and a reluctance among landlords to take part.

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To better dole out aid, many states and cities are simplifying applications and moving money from nonprofits that can’t process the aid fast enough to those that can. Others are redirecting the funds to different purposes, lest the money will go unspent.

Some have called on Congress to extend the Dec. 30 deadline, which would be followed immediately by the expiration of an eviction ban by the Centers for Disease Control.

“The idea of reverting that money back to the Treasury just as the eviction moratoriums expire and renters are on the brink is absurd and cruel,” Diane Yentel, chief executive of the National Low Income Housing Coalition, told the Times.

Various states also have eviction bans in place. Efforts to expand New York’s are underway.

[NYT] — Sasha Jones