coronavirus

Several States Have Run Out of Federal Rental Assistance

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  • A deluge of applications has forced some states to shut their federal rental assistance programs earlier than expected.
  • States halting assistance include New York, New Jersey and Texas.

Several states have stopped accepting applications for federal pandemic rental assistance.

The programs in New Jersey, New York, Oregon and Texas, as well as Washington, D.C., are either closed or on hold, leaving many struggling renters cut off from their only hope of paying off their debt and staying in their homes.

Congress allocated more than $45 billion in rental assistance in stimulus packages passed in December 2020 and March 2021. That funding was unprecedented: Just $1.5 billion was earmarked for renters during the Great Recession.

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The aid is targeted toward families who have fallen behind because of financial difficulties caused by the Covid pandemic and allows households to get up to 18 months of their rent covered.

However, the pandemic brought unexpected hardship to renters, at one point leaving as many as 40 million people at risk of eviction. Research has found that the average renter in arrears owes $3,700

Oregon, New Jersey and Texas all halted their application process in December. New York stopped accepting applications in November, and Washington, D.C., closed its program in October.

The states have listed alternative resources on their websites.

Many cities and counties across the U.S. also received some of the federal funding, and experts say struggling renters in a state where the main program has closed should check whether local ones are still open. For example, in Texas, Dallas County's rental assistance program continues to operate.

The National Low Income Housing Coalition has a state-by-state list of the 507 programs distributing the aid.

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