With Only 23 Percent of Rental Aid Distributed, Warren and Bush Demand Answers

The distribution of federal rental aid funds has stagnated, prompting Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Rep. Cori bush (D.Massachusetts), to send a letter asking for explanations to the Treasury Department.

The Treasury Department released data last week showing that, as at September’s end, less than a quarterFederal rental aid had been disbursed, and that previous progresson the rate at which distribution had fallen off. In their letter to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, Warren and Bush expressed concern over the program’s rollout.

“Millions of households currently at risk for eviction desperately await the funds from the Consolidated Appropriations Act (ERA1) and the American Rescue Plan (ERA2) to remain housed as COVID-19 continues to cause staggering economic and health crises,” they wrote.

“Despite the high level of emergency financial need that has persisted as early as March 2020, these households continue to wait in vain while eviction proceedings loom threateningly,” the lawmakers continued. They also pointed out that Missouri had only distributed 22 percent of its allocated funds for households in need, despite having experienced the second-highest rate of evictions during the pandemic.

They praised the Treasury Department for its release new guidanceWarren and Bush suggested last month that the department take additional steps to improve the distribution of aid. They also requested detailed statistics from the agency on the aid program. This included data on applicants and households that were denied aid.

“Families across the country have faced eviction during this pandemic — only to have emergency rental assistance be slow-moving and often inaccessible,” Bush said, adding that she and Warren are seeking “answers … on how this program will be fixed.”

Over 50 members of Congress signed the letter, including progressive lawmakers such as Sen. Bernie Sanders (I–Vermont), Pramila Jayapal and Representatives Pramila Ocasio­Cortez (D–New York), and Jamaal Bowman. The lawmakers gave Yellen a week to reply.

Only $10.7 billion of $46.5 billion in rent aid authorized by Congress last Dec. had been disbursed by September 30, despite a September 30 deadline for aid distribution or risk losing funding. Since the eviction moratorium, approximately $10.7 billion of the $46.5 billion in rental aid authorized by Congress last December had not been disbursed by September 30, despite a September 30 deadline to distribute the aid or risk losing it. was overturned by the Supreme CourtHousing advocates and lawmakers urged local governments to accelerate distribution at the end August.

According to data from Princeton’s Eviction Lab, evictions are spiking in some cities that don’t have an eviction moratorium, including Houston, Dallas and Kansas City, Missouri. Warren and Bush were both in September Introduced a bill that wouldThe bill would allow the Department of Health and Human Services, to implement federal evacuation moratoriums in an emergency, but it faces long odds in the House and deeply divided Senate.

Activists assert that while aid is essential, many local programs offer rental assistance. They are marred by red tape and bureaucracy, with applicants having to provide “proof” of their suffering and desperate need. Some governments set upInadequate distribution systems resulted in significant amounts of the money being used elsewhere; others tried to distribute money only to landlords. the landlords to refuseThe funds are illegal in certain places.

While landlords reacted furiously to the eviction moratorium, real estate groups were thriving The policy was ended by millions of dollarsNew data shows that landlords fare relatively well in the years since the moratorium was enacted. JPMorgan Chase has released an analysis this week found thatAlthough landlords lost some money during the pandemic, when millions were being laid off or furloughed by the government, they recovered by May and June 2020.