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Read our report on six communities’ experiences with pandemic funding and programs, which provides valuable lessons learned to improve federal emergency response programs.

<Data Story>

After a slow start, states are now spending rental assistance at a steady rate.


Households struggling to pay rent or utility bills received relief from the $25 billion Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA1) program. State and local governments were responsible for administering the funds which they began receiving in January 2021. The American Rescue Plan Act added $21 billion more to the program (ERA2) in March 2021.

Our data story in November 2021 showed that as of November 30, 2021, 2.7 million households had received $13.6 billion in ERA1 rental assistance. As of February 28, 2022, the number of households increased to 3.5 million receiving $16.4 billion

State and local governments had to obligate at least 65% of their ERA1 funds before September 30, 2021. If they did not, the Department of the Treasury (Treasury) could take back the unspent portion and re-distribute the funds to state and local governments that had spent more than 65% of their initial funds. So far, Treasury has reallocated more than $2 billion of ERA1 funds, most of which was transferred voluntarily between recipients within the same state. 

NOTE:  Our map: 

  • Tracks the total assistance spent by the state, including funds that were allocated directly to local governments (counties or cities). Local governments that were responsible for administering funds are grouped within the state percentage total. 
  • Does not include funds spent by U.S. territories or Tribal governments.     


Page last modified: 11/06/2023
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