However, it didn't happen. Officials point out multiple efforts to help millions of people remain in their homes. This includes the $46 billion in rental assistance funneled through local and state governments. It has been more than 4.7million payments to people to avoid evictions in the midst of the pandemic.
Officials from the Treasury Department say that most of that money will be used in the middle of next year. Officials announced Wednesday that $30 billion worth of emergency rental assistance had been obligated or spent as of February 31st, despite a slow start.
With his 2023 budget, President Biden indicated that affordable housing was a priority. However, Congress has the money to fund measures to increase affordability housing.
Princeton University's Eviction Lab found that eviction filings are still well below pre-pandemic norms. The emergency rental assistance could explain this, according to their researchers. According to the Treasury Department, more than 80% of the rental assistance was distributed to very low-income households in 2013. Many of these recipients were women and people of color.
The Emergency Rental Assistance money was part of the COVID relief measures that Congress passed in late 2020 and early 2021. However, the U.S. did not have the infrastructure necessary to assist renters who were behind on their rent. The country was faced with a crisis as officials from all levels of government, including local and state officials, had to work together to put programs in place.
Wally Adeyemo, Deputy Treasury Secretary, stated that it "has helped keep the eviction rate well below historical averages throughout this pandemic."
Officials are urging state and local governments, as the money is running out, to use federal funds to aid struggling renters and support other housing efforts. Officials stated that the $350 billion allocated by the American Rescue Plan to state and local governments could be used for this purpose.
About $11 billion has been already committed to housing efforts as of 2021. This includes rental and mortgage assistance, eviction prevention, and affordable housing.
Jacob Leibenluft is Treasury's chief recovery officer. He stated, "We hope this will support both the lasting Eviction Prevention Infrastructure as well as provide an opportunity for much needed investments into affordable housing supply."
Leibenluft pointed out that the use of the money to increase affordable housing is a key area of interest for all levels of government, from the state to the tribal level. This includes cities and rural communities. More than 350 governments had contributed state and local recovery funds to housing as of the end last year. This figure is expected to rise in this year.
This is because rent costs are on the rise in the United States. According to Redfin's report, the average monthly rent landlords asked for in January was an unprecedented 15.2% higher than a year ago. Redfin records show that the national median mortgage payment for homebuyers rose 25% to $2,250.