On August 26th, 2021, the Supreme Court of the United States ended the CDC moratorium on evictions in a ruling that endangered millions throughout the country. With no safety net from eviction, tenants solely rely on the quick delivery of rent relief for protection from becoming unhoused or doubling up among family or friends, both of which increase the likelihood of contracting or spreading COVID-19.
At Texas Housers, we have been tracking the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) program, more specifically we’ve followed how effectively its funds have been disbursed in our state. Our initial report was released in July 2021, which tracked how each program had performed through May 2021. Today, we release volume 2.0 of this report, which evaluates how ERAP funds have been disbursed though July 2021.
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 Latino or Hispanic households.
In Texas, 36 jurisdictions received funds for ERA programs. Our first report had 14 respondents, with 22 city and county governments suggesting they had not started disbursing money, that they had not been tracking information we had asked for (which they are bound by law to record), or did not respond altogether.
In our new report, 28 cities and counties have now reported; meaning 8 such programs did not report proper data or respond at all. However, four cities and counties among those 28 have not disbursed any money as of July 2021. This has earned these local governments an F score from our research team: failure to move funds approved in December of 2020 by July 2021 is inexcusable, and local officials carry the weight of the evictions that occurred within their jurisdictions during these months of inaction.
In addition to tracking the progress of local ERA programs across the state and ranking them, Texas Housers identified several strategies that program administrators and government officials can undertake to ensure their ERA1 funds are allocated in an equitable and timely manner.
You can read our findings in volume 2.0 of our Evaluating the Effectiveness of the Emergency Rental Assistance Program in Texas report.ERAP-Report-v.2.1