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Many state and local governments have been able to secure federal funds for rental assistance to support their populations affected by COVID-19. Review compliance requirements and internal control structure changes that may be needed to address the administration of your programs.

Financial Management and Disaster Relief

Emergency Rental and Homeowner Assistance Programs for Governments

  • Allison Slife
  • 4/21/2021

Update: This article was originally published on January 14, 2021. It was updated on April 21, 2021, to reflect additional information published by the U.S. Department of Treasury on the Emergency Rental Assistance Program and the new Homeowner Assistance Fund.

Key insights

Emergency Rental Assistance Program under the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021

  • Rent relief to the tune of $25 billion was divided among U.S. states, territories, local governments, and Indian tribes with more than 200,000 residents.
  • Distribution of this assistance to renters — mostly expiring September 30, 2022 — is being managed by the state and local governments.

New Homeowner Assistance Fund under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021

  • Mortgage and related utility relief up to $9.9 billion is available to eligible governments. The period of performance ends September 30, 2026.
  • Eligible governments have to complete a notice of funds request by April 25, 2021, and enter into a financial assistance agreement.

Does your state or local government need help navigating new grants and funding programs?

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Emergency Rental Assistance program

On January 5, 2021, the U.S. Department of the Treasury released information and eligibility criteria on the Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) program.

Established under the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, this program allocates $25 billion across the country to assist eligible households who are unable to pay rent and utilities due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As with the Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF), these funds have been distributed to U.S. states, territories, local governments, and Indian tribes — though the population requirement has been lowered from 500,000 to 200,000.

Eligible governments had to complete payment information and sign the acceptance of award terms by January 12, 2021, to receive the funds, which will generally expire September 30, 2022. The assistance listing number (CFDA number) for the ERA program is 21.023 and will be subject to Single Audit requirements.

Eligible renters are able to receive assistance with rent and utilities, unpaid rent and utilities, and other housing expenses that were incurred due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Homeowner Assistance Fund

On April 14, 2021, the U.S. Department of the Treasury released information and guidance on the Homeowner Assistance Fund, established under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.

This program allocates up to $9.9 billion across the country to assist with mortgage delinquencies, foreclosures, utilities, and other related purposes due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Relief is available for U.S. states, the District of Columbia, U.S. territories, Tribes or Tribal entities, and the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands.

The majority of eligible governments have to complete a notice of funds request and submit to the U.S. Treasury by Sunday, April 25, 2021. A financial assistance agreement also has to be entered into between each government and the U.S. Treasury.

The period of performance for this award ends on September 30, 2026 and will be subject to Single Audit requirements. More requirements and an example financial assistance agreement are available on the U.S. Treasury’s website.

How we can help

If your government organization applies for this funding, it is important to be aware of any additional compliance requirements and changes needed in your internal control structure. These funds will be subject to monitoring and oversight by the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of the Inspector General, and failure to comply with additional requirements could cause you to lose grant funds. We can help you as you navigate these new complexities. CLA’s experienced professionals can:

  • Understand your needs and your plan for distribution and administration of the program.
  • Assist in the application processing and eligibility determination for renters, households, and other program beneficiaries.
  • Work with you to develop effective strategies for implementing grant management policies and procedures.
  • Offer resources to ease the burden of grant compliance.
  • Help you prepare for federal program audits and monitoring.
  • Provide risk management services to assist you with next steps after COVID-19.

With CLA’s support through this challenging time, you can focus on continuing to provide valuable services to your community.

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