Only about 11 percent of federal funds from the $46.5 billion Emergency Rental Assistance program have been distributed by state and local governments to tenants and landlords in need, as the White House in the meantime "braces" itself for a possible Supreme Court blow to its emergency 60-day eviction moratorium, The New York Times reports.
Funded by the federal pandemic relief packages over the last year, total rental aid disbursed thus far has reached just about $5.1 billion, according to the Treasury Department, which oversees the program. In other words, approximately 89 percent of funds have yet to be received.
"There is still way more to do and to do fast," said Gene Sperling, who heads operation of federal pandemic relief programs for President Biden.
Although the federal government runs the program, it is "up to the states" to deliver the aid, the Times writes. And that's been the biggest issue. To combat the slow pace of distribution, which was not "ramping up fast enough to entirely prevent a wave of evictions," the Treasury Department on Wednesday introduced a roster of changes pressuring states to speed things up, per the Times. Local officials believe moving too fast might lead to errors and fraud, but the White House says such risks are "insignificant" compared to the housing crisis some experts now see as "increasingly likely." Notably, officials said there has been some acceleration in distribution pace in August.
States with a backlog of extra funds by the end of September might have their funds reallocated "to other states that have been able to distribute it more effectively," the Times writes. Texas, for example, has been "particularly effective" at ramping up distribution, but others, like New York, Florida, and South Carolina have been "sluggish." Read more at The New York Times.