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Treasury launches $25B coronavirus rental assistance program

Treasury launches $25B coronavirus rental assistance program

The Treasury Department has launched a $25 billion rental assistance program with funds from the $900 billion coronavirus relief package enacted last week, the department announced Thursday.

State, territorial, tribal and local governments covering more than 200,000 people are now eligible to apply for aid allocated to help struggling Americans cover rent and prevent landlords from racking up debt on tenants.

Eligible entities can apply for funding to cover up to 15 months of rental expenses for households, the Treasury Department said.

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Qualifying households include at least one person who is eligible for unemployment insurance or suffered a coronavirus-related loss of income, major expense or hardship; is at risk of homelessness or housing insecurity; and has a household income at or below 80 percent of “the area median.”

Households or landlords that qualify can apply through programs set up by a state, territorial, tribal or local government that receives funding from the Treasury. The funds will go directly to landlords and utility companies unless a household’s landlord declines to participate in the program.

Evictions of most Americans have been banned by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) since September. That moratorium was extended by Congress and President TrumpDonald TrumpSchumer: Impeachment trial will be quick, doesn't need a lot of witnesses Nurse to be tapped by Biden as acting surgeon general: report Schumer calls for Biden to declare climate emergency MORE through the end of January.

Housing experts, advocates and economists have called on the federal government to provide sufficient rental assistance to protect tens of millions of Americans from eviction when the CDC ban expires.

Updated on Jan. 11