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Texas Housers evaluates how cities and counties disburse COVID rent relief in latest report

Update 7/13: At time of publishing, Texas Housers did not have complete figures from Houston and Harris County that fit into our grading categories. Subsequent to a follow up, we were provided the unique data to make their assessment complete. Houston and Harris County have now been added to this report. Corpus Christi submitted their results using TERAP funds. The next volume of this report will evaluate this jurisdiction according to its use of ERA-1 funds.

The CDC moratorium on evictions is set to expire on July 31, with no expectation of extension. In order to prevent a wave of displacement from occurring once the protection is lifted, it is imperative that the federally-backed Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) program operates effectively here in our state.

In order to ensure that it does, Texas Housers requested information from each of the 36 jurisdictions that administer local ERA programs in Texas. Linked below, our report uses the information we received regarding the progress of ERA programs in their first months of operation to evaluate their ability to distribute funds in an equitable and timely manner. 

Programs were compared based on their performance in three domains that Texas Housers considers to be central to the success of a rent relief program — their rate of disbursal, prioritization of households in the greatest financial need, and aid to Black and Latinx households. 

The results of our analysis were alarming. From failure to collect required information about recipients (necessary for tracking, modifying, and improving programs), slow distributions of funds that makes it highly unlikely to reach a significant portion of the eligible population by the time the CDC moratorium expires, to failure to reach disenfranchised communities, Texas Housers found that there is great room for improvement in ERA rollout in Texas.

However, we did find some programs to be more successful than others in each of the three domains mentioned above. To find out more about strategies program administrators can adopt to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of an ERA program, see our recommendations in Evaluating the Effectiveness of the Emergency Rental Assistance Program in Texas below.

ERAP-Report-7-13-21

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