Many renters who missed rent payments during the pandemic are unable to access billions of dollars in federal rent aid that started flowing to states and cities five months ago.
Local governments across the U.S. have struggled with how to distribute the money, and some have complained that their staffs are being deluged by a flood of aid requests. Numerous renters are being disqualified for failing to correctly complete their applications, local officials say.
President Biden has yet to say if he will extend the eviction ban that was first put in place by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention back in September 2020 and is set to expire on June 30. It has been extended before.
If the ban expires before more of the $47 billion in aid reaches landlords and tenants, it will result in a surge in evictions the money was intended to prevent, housing advocates say. Some 11 million tenants are considered at risk of eviction due to financial hardship, according to government figures.
While the U.S. Treasury Department oversees the rent aid, local officials are responsible for distributing the money. They have some leeway in deciding how to distribute it and what tenants must do to qualify.