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Treasury distributes $ 1.5 billion in rent assistance as moratorium on evictions looms

With a federal eviction ban set to expire at the end of the month, the Treasury Department is expected to announce on Wednesday that it has distributed more than $ 1.5 billion in rent assistance across the country over the past month – more than in the past five months combined, according to an administration official. States and cities have struggled to distribute funds to tenants and landlords, and the news comes as the White House is due to hold its second eviction prevention summit later Wednesday.

More than 11 million Americans – 16% of renters – are still late in paying their rent, according to an analysis from the Center on Budget Policy and Priorities. At the start of the pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention put a moratorium on evictions in place, but it is set to expire on July 31, adding a sense of urgency for those who are eligible for help but not. have not yet received.

Congress approved more than $ 46 billion in rent assistance between December and March for tenants and landlords alike, but it proved difficult to get hold of it. The exact amounts that tenants and landlords can receive depend on their income and where they live, but tenants could get enough to cover rent as early as March 13, 2020, unpaid utilities and even, in some cases, the future rent.

However, many states and cities did not have the infrastructure in place to distribute the funds and struggled to put systems in place to distribute them. By the end of May, only a fraction of the money had come out. Housing activists told CBS News earlier this month that further delays could lead to a historic wave of evictions in the coming months.

But new Treasury Department data, obtained by CBS News, shows more than $ 1.5 billion in aid was provided to eligible households in the month of June alone – an 85% increase from the month previous and nearly triple the amount distributed since April. Administration officials see this as a vital sign of progress in the program and an indication that once local communities have a system in place to manage the money, they are able to distribute it quickly.

Rents and house prices have skyrocketed in recent months, especially as the spread of the Delta variant has spooked markets and investors. Many states have implemented their own patchwork protection plans for vulnerable tenants, either by extending their own moratoriums on evictions or by improving legal access for tenants facing evictions. And administration officials say they recognize that federal money is still not flowing fast enough to many places.

Wednesday’s White House summit will bring together more than 2,000 local officials, landlord and tenant advocates, legal experts and other attendees from 46 cities, according to a White House official, in a bid to answer questions and raise awareness emergency rental assistance and eviction prevention strategies. Speakers are expected to include Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, both of whom have led eviction prevention programs in their cities.

The CDC’s deportation moratorium has been extended several times, but the July 31 expiration date is expected to be final. Administration officials say they hope the summit will give local officials, courts, lawyers and community organizations a plan to prevent the deadline from turning into a deportation crisis.


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