Treasury Department to ease rent relief backlogs with reallocations

More than $800 million could reportedly move in redistribution beginning next month

Secratary of the Treasury Janet Yellen (Getty, iStock)
Secratary of the Treasury Janet Yellen (Getty, iStock)

States struggling to keep rent relief efforts alive could soon benefit from a Treasury Department plan to reallocate funds.

Rental-assistance money would be shifted from municipalities with unused funds to those who desperately need it, the Wall Street Journal reported. Officials didn’t specify to the Journal which states and municipalities would gain and lose funds, nor how much would be reallocated.

The initial reallocation is set to be unveiled early next month, the Journal reported. More than $800 million could be on the move, both between and within states, as a network of more than 450 organizations and agencies are responsible for distributing aid.

Some rural states are among those that haven’t distributed much rent relief at all. Montana only distributed 11 percent of its $200 million pot by Sept. 30. North Dakota distributed only 4 percent by the same time.

Other states are set to shut down rent relief programs due to dwindling funds. Oregon and Texas are closing their programs off to new applicants and officials believe California and Illinois could fall in that line soon, according to the Journal.

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The end of the national moratorium didn’t spark an eviction surge, but gaps in federal rental assistance and tenant protections have reportedly given way to a swelling trend. (iStock)
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New York’s portal for emergency rental assistance stopped accepting new applications as of Nov. 14. Gov. Kathy Hochul said the state had earmarked nearly all of its $2.4 billion in available funding and requested another $996 million from the Treasury Department.

Up to $20 billion of the $47 billion authorized by Congress for rent relief could be spent by the end of the year. Another $5 billion to $10 billion could be pledged to specific tenants and landlords, according to the Journal.

Only the first $25 billion authorized by Congress will be reallocated beginning in December. The other $21.6 billion in funds reportedly won’t be reallocated until March at the earliest.

Rent relief can be used by tenants for back rent, future rent and utilities. The assistance option was one major measure taken by the government to avoid mass evictions, as well as an eviction moratorium that expired earlier this year.

[WSJ] — Holden Walter-Warner