According to the Treasury Department, state and local programs have made about 1 million payments benefiting households at risk of eviction since January. The percentage has been ticking up, with more than 340,000 households receiving $1.7 billion in rental and utility assistance in July alone, a 15% increase compared with June.
Politico’s Katy O’Donnell reports that bottlenecks continue to plague the $46.5 billion program that was first authorized by Congress in December 2020 and millions of renters could be at risk of losing their homes once eviction protections end.
Treasury announced seven additional policies Aug. 25 to encourage state and local governments to expedite this emergency rental assistance. These include measures and clarifications to reduce processing delays, including self-attestation can be used for documenting financial hardship, the risk of homelessness or housing instability, and income.
The paperwork streamlining that Treasury announced Wednesday was a "game changer" for officials responsible for distributing rental assistance, said Stockton Williams, executive director of the National Council of State Housing Agencies. Williams said that state housing officials have been urging Treasury for months to clarify the extent to which they would need to verify documentation provided by aid recipients.
Some programs currently allow self-attestation if a tenant does not have the documents requested upfront — such as a copy of their lease and payment verification — but the exception is hidden in the application form’s fine print and a tenant without documents may not read that far. Now Treasury is explicitly stating that a tenant does not need documentation of their situation.