Consulting Services American Rescue Plan Act: Emergency Rental Assistance Program
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The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) provides $1.9 trillion in federal funding in two key areas: to address the COVID-19 virus and provide additional economic relief. The ARPA provides funding for vaccines, testing, and healthcare needs and also specific programs aimed at providing relief to educational institutions, state, tribal and local governments, businesses, and for housing needs and individual assistance.

One of the key housing initiatives is the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP), which continues federal support of state and local rental assistance programs across the country. The ERAP program makes available nearly $22 billion to assist households that are unable to pay rent and utilities due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The funds are provided directly to states, U.S. territories, local governments, and tribes. Grantees use the funds to assist eligible households through existing or newly-created rental assistance programs. Combined with the previous $25 billion in rental assistance funding already allocated in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 (CAA), these funds are a significant step in assisting tenants that are experiencing housing instability and assisting the rental property owners who are experiencing economic distress due to unpaid rents during the pandemic.

Important guidelines and updates for states, U.S. territories, local governments, and tribes in the American Rescue Plan Act for this program:

  • Up to 10% of grantees’ allocation may be used for housing stability services.
  • Up to 15% of grantees’ allocation may be used for administrative costs.
  • Up to 18 months in assistance may be provided per household (CAA and ARPA funds combined).
  • The funding covers rent, rent arrears, utility costs and arrears and other housing costs as defined by the Treasury Secretary.
  • Prioritization and eligibility requirements parallel CAA requirements.
  • Includes rules for distribution of unused funds which may be used for affordable housing or eviction prevention purposes.
  • The new law does not extend the federal eviction moratorium that remains in place until March 31, 2021. 
  • The ARPA does not include the language from the CAA that requires grantees to prioritize arrears before prospective rental payments or that allows housing providers to apply for funding on behalf of residents.

P&N works with Emergency Rental Assistance Programs across the country. Our professionals can assist with full program management, financial disbursement, and more. Contact us to start a discussion about your agency’s needs.

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