When Covid-19 hit in 2020, the U.S. Congress allocated $46.5 million to help struggling low-income renters stay in their homes during the pandemic. The federal Emergency Rental Assistance program was designed to be a lifeline for those who fell behind on payments as work and income streams were disrupted. But most states were initially slow to disburse the funds — to the frustration of tenants, landlords and housing advocacy groups.
After that sluggish start, there are now signs of significant progress. More than 4.3 million payments worth $20.5 billion were allocated to households nationwide through Jan. 31, the U.S. Treasury reported this month. The aid, while late, likely played a significant role in preventing hundreds of thousands of evictions, according to a new Eviction Lab analysis.