Treasury redirecting rental assistance funds to address backlogs

The Treasury Department is planning to shift federal rental aid from some jurisdictions with unused funds as other areas stare down to areas staring down a backlog of requests.

The department said on Monday that the office has begun a process to reallocate available aid from grantees that have unused funds, as it works quickly to distribute more than $46 billion in assistance allocated to states during the pandemic.

It’s unclear which areas stand to receive more funding in the coming weeks. The Hill has reached out to the office for comment.

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The Wall Street Journal was first to report the news on Monday.

According to the Journal, officials say Montana and North Dakota are among those that have not yet distributed a significant portion of the already allocated aid. However, the department said states such as Texas or New York, where officials have called for increased assistance, have almost distributed all of the aid received thus far.

“Oregon has also reported that all of its funds are spoken for between dollars that have already gone out the door and applications in process,” the office said, before adding that, under the ERA statute, "obligated funds cannot be recaptured and used for reallocation."

Last month, the office said over $2.8 billion in aid was distributed to more than 521,000 renters and landlords through the Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) program. Over 2.5 million payments have been doled out this year under the effort.

But some states have continued to struggle to distribute the aid quickly. Officials also told the Journal that certain areas have received more aid than needed, while others push for more funding.

“There is less unspent money today than there was six months ago, but we’re still committed to make sure that the money that is unspent gets reallocated as quickly as possible,” Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally AdeyemoWally AdeyemoBiden administration eases restrictions on aid to Afghanistan White House sanctions dozens accused of human rights abuses, including China, Russia Treasury redirecting rental assistance funds to address backlogs MORE told the Journal.

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“There is a need to make sure that we get this money to tenants who need it,” Adeyemo added.

The Treasury said on Monday that, at the current pace of distribution, they anticipate approximately $25 to $30 billion in allocated federal aid will be "spent or obligated" overall under the initiative by the end of next month.

Updated at 5:17 p.m.