It’s much needed money for people behind on rent, but some rental assistance programs have been slow at getting the money to those who need it.
The federal government now wants to know how much money local programs have distributed to those in need. Local governments have been awarded two rounds of federal assistance money. The first round, known as ERA 1, started going out in January.
Programs with excess unobligated ERA-1 funds at the end of September may be asked to give the funds back to the federal government can reallocate those funds.
Last week, the U.S. Treasury Department required programs to report how much money had been paid out to renters in need or committed to renters who applied. If 65 percent of the first round of funds had not been spent, the money could be reallocated.
“Each one has some different eligibility criteria and things people should be thinking about when applying for these programs,” Audrey Aradanas with Miami Homes for All said, adding early on some renters ran into challenges applying for the help.
But despite a slow start, she said many programs stripped back the red tape to help get money out before the deadline.
“These evictions are not just going away, evictions are not only expensive to residents themselves, this is also an expensive process for our system, our court system, our landlords especially,” Aradanas said.
Miami-Dade County announced earlier this month it paid out all of its ERA-1 funds. The city of Miami also met the deadline. A spokesperson told NBC 6 Responds it paid out 83 percent of its money.
Broward County’s rental assistance program did not meet the deadline. A spokesperson told us they paid out 41 percent of its ERA-1 funding, adding “We have received no indication from US Treasury that our funds will be reallocated” and “We do not anticipate returning any funds.”
According to guidelines released by the U.S. Treasury Department, if local programs didn’t meet the deadline they will have the chance to keep the money if they submit a plan on how they will improve distribution.
This plan must be submitted to the federal government by November 15th.