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Renters got more federal assistance in June than the rest of 2021 combined

July 21, 2021, 6:15 PM UTC

As pandemic-era eviction protections for renters come to an end this month, the Treasury Department says it gave out more emergency rental assistance to citizens than it has in all previous months of 2021 combined.

The government agency delivered more than $1.5 billion in assistance last month, as the number of households served grew by 85% over the previous month to 290,000. That number has tripled since April.

“This represents significant progress, but there is still much further work to go to ensure tenants and landlords take advantage of the historic funding available to help cover rent, utilities, and other housing costs and keep people in their homes,” the Treasury Department said in a statement.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities estimates there are 11.4 million Americans currently behind on their rent—16% of the total adult renter population. And while not all of them are facing possible eviction, the lifting of the federal eviction moratorium at the end of July puts them at greater risk. In January’s peak, 15 million renters—nearly one in five—were behind on rent.

The December relief package and the American Rescue Plan included over $25 billion in emergency rental assistance, earmarked to help people who are unable to pay their rent avoid eviction. However, the aid packages have been slow to roll out. Many states have failed to spend tens of millions of dollars due to a variety of factors, ranging from poorly administered programs to uncooperative landlords.

The Emergency Rental Assistance program is in the process of developing a national infrastructure for rental assistance and eviction prevention to speed up the dispersal of funds. The program will run through 2025.

People who are unable to avoid eviction could have trouble finding affordable housing. Rent prices are spiking as the economy begins to recover from the pandemic.

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