The Treasury Department said on Friday that state and local authorities had distributed only a fraction of the emergency rental assistance at the end of August when delays continue to weigh on the program eight months after its creation.
Authorities have disbursed just $ 7.7 billion – or about 17% – of the $ 46.5 billion program to keep millions of tenants in their homes, the department said in a press release. The money served 420,000 households in August, up from 340,000 in July.
“While many jurisdictions have more work to do to meet the urgent demand for this relief in their communities, beneficiaries saw significant growth in August – especially among state and local agencies that have adopted recommended best practices. by the Treasury, âthe department said.
There are some 110 million Americans living in renter households; an estimated 8 million tenants – or about 7% – are behind on their rent and face eviction, according to the latest Census Bureau data from the first half of September. Of those, more than 3 million said they were very or somewhat likely to be deported within the next two months.
The Biden administration extended the ban on evicting millions of tenants in early August after immense pressure from progressive lawmakers, but the Supreme Court overturned the moratorium weeks later in an unsigned eight-page notice . Judges argued that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had overstepped their authority with a two-month order staying deportations in parts of the country with “substantial” or “high” spread of the coronavirus. The three liberal judges of the tribunal were dissenting.
“It puts a strain on gullibility to believe that this law grants the CDC the broad authority it claims,” ââthe majority wrote, adding: “If a moratorium on evictions imposed by the federal government is to continue, the Congress must specifically authorize it. ”
A coalition of 60 House Democrats urged Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and President Nancy Pelosi to reactivate the ban, calling on them in a letter extend the pause on evictions as part of an upcoming spending bill. They argued that the spread of the highly contagious delta variant increased tenants’ need for protection.
Still, House Democrats couldn’t get enough votes to pass a bill extending the ban earlier this summer, facing opposition from moderate members of their own party. Even if they got enough backing, the moratorium would almost certainly die in the Senate at 50-50.
The ban also created financial hardship for many homeowners.
According to an analysis of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, nearly half of the country’s rental housing is owned by individual investor landlords, or so-called âmom-and-popâ landlords, who depend on money as part of their income.