Federal Advocacy

Overview of Emergency Rental Assistance Program

Established under the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, this program provides funds directly to States, the District of Columbia, U.S. Territories, local governments (population over 200,000), and Indian tribes for assisting eligible households through existing or new rental assistance programs.

The program is administered by the U.S. Department of Treasury. On February 22, 2021 Treasury issued updated FAQs, click here to review the document.

If you have additional questions or are looking for more information, please feel free to contact FLC Staff.


Funding Allocation

  • States (including the District of Columbia): Funding proportionally based on 2019 Census data; minimum distribution $200 million
  • Local governments (200,000+ population), May access 45% of their state's allocation

$23.785 billion

  • Commonwealth of Puerto Rico
  • U.S. Virgin Islands
  • Guam
  • Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands
  • American Samoa

$400 million

  • Indian tribes
  • Native Hawaiians

$800 million

  • Treasury Administration Expenses

$15 million

Distribution of Funds

  • The Department of Treasury must disburse funds to grantees within 30 days of enactment of the Act (12/27/20 – 1/27/21) at which point States will receive at least 55 % of their funds.
  • Eligible local governments must send a certification signed by their chief executive to receive direct payment.
  • REALLOCATION OF UNUSED FUNDS: Excess funds that have not been obligated by a grantee by September 30, 2021, will be recaptured by the Treasury and reallocated to eligible grantees who at that time have obligated 65% of their original allocation. Funds will be available until December 31, 2021, after which eligible grantees may request a 90 day extension if necessary.

Eligible Households

Household income must not exceed 80% of the area median income (AMI) for the household applying for assistance where:

  • One or more individual(s) required to pay rent who qualified for unemployment benefits or experienced a reduction in household income, incurred significant costs, or experienced other financial hardship due directly or indirectly to COVID-19 (which the applicant shall attest in writing) and where;
  • One or more individual(s) within the household can demonstrate a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability which may include: a past due utility or rent notice or eviction notice, unsafe or unhealthy living conditions, or any other evidence demonstrating such risk as determined by the grantee.

Grantees must determine a household's eligibility through the following criteria:

  • Household income for 2020, OR
  • Confirmation of the monthly income that the household is receiving at the time of application.

Prioritization of Assistance

Grantees must prioritize applications of eligible households satisfying the following conditions:

  • Income of household must not exceed 50% of the AMI for the household.
  • One or more individual(s) within the household are unemployed at the time of application for assistance and have not been employed for the 90 day period preceding such date.

Eligible Expenditures

Funds may only be used to provide financial assistance and housing stability services to eligible households. Not less than 90% of funds received by an eligible grantee must be used to provide financial assistance to eligible households, including payment of:

  • Rent
  • Rental arrears
  • Utilities and home energy costs
  • Utilities and home energy costs arrears
  • Other expenses related to housing incurred directly or indirectly to COVID-19
  • At least 10% of funds received by an eligible grantee may be used to provide eligible households with case management and other services related to COVID-19 to maintain housing stability

Applications Submitted on Behalf of Tenants

  • Landlords and owners submitting on behalf of eligible households must obtain the tenant’s signature on the application and must provide documentation of the application to the tenant.
  • Payments received by the landlord/owner must be used for the tenant’s rental obligations to the landlord/owner.


  • Grantees must make payments to the lessor or utility provider on behalf of the eligible household.
  • In the scenario where the lessor/utility provider does not accept payment from the grantee, the grantee may then make payments directly to the eligible household for the purpose of paying the lessor/utility provider.

Time Frame to Spend Funds

12 Months
Grantees may continue providing assistance to households for 3 additional months if necessary (subject to the availability of funds following the 12 month period).


The Inspector General of the Department of Treasury is tasked with monitoring and oversight of the recipient, disbursement, and use of funds.

  • If it is determined that a grantee used funds for ineligible expenses, the amount of the funds used in violation of the program will be booked as a debt for that grantee who shall have the responsibility of paying it to the federal government.
  • Funds that have been recouped will be deposited into the Treasury’s general fund.

Reporting Requirements

Quarterly public reports on the use of funds will be provided by the Treasury in consultation with the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development including:

  • The number of eligible households that receive assistance
  • Acceptance rate of applicants for assistance
  • The type of assistance provided to each eligible households
  • Average amount of funding provided per eligible household
  • Household income, with information disaggregated for households by income that:
    • Does not exceed 30% of AMI
    • Exceeds 30% but does not exceed 50% of AMI
    • Exceeds 50%but does not exceed 80% of AMI

Disaggregation Each report must disaggregate the information above by the primary applicant's:

  • Gender
  • Race
  • Ethnicity

Privacy Requirements

Grantees must establish data privacy and security requirements that:

  • Include appropriate measures to ensure the privacy of individuals/households is protected
  • Provide that the information, including any personal identifiable information, is solely collected and used for submitting reports as detailed under reporting requirements
  • Provide confidentiality protections for data collected about any individuals who are:
    • Survivors of intimate partner violence
    • Sexual assault
    • Stalking

NOTE: Grantees must ensure that households receiving assistance under this program do not receive funding under other federally funded rental assistance.