New Survey Shows Most Still Aren’t Aware of Emergency Rental Assistance

July 15, 2021
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The Urban Institute, in partnership with the online platform Avail, recently released data that showcases the urgent need to raise awareness about emergency rental assistance.

( Find emergency rental assistance in your area )

The American Rescue Plan provided $21.5 billion for the Treasury Department's Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) program , on top of the $25 billion provided by the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021.

The federal eviction moratorium ends in two weeks (July 31) , and millions are at risk of losing their homes. According to the latest Household Pulse Survey conducted by the Census Bureau, more than 3.5 million renters are very or somewhat likely to be evicted in the next two months.

Emergency rental assistance can prevent evictions in many cases, but more than 50% of renters and 40% of landlords don't know about ERA, according to the Urban Institute.

Here are other top takeaways from the survey:

  • Less than 6% of landlords and 11% of tenants have applied for ERA;
  • Only 55% of tenants who know about ERA (and missed a rental payment) applied for it;
  • Even fewer, 14%, of landlords who know about ERA (and missed some rental income) applied for it on behalf of their tenants;
  • 65% of landlords know about ERA but aren't sure if they're eligible;
  • Tenants most commonly learned of ERA through internet searching, promotional ads, and state-sponsored outreach calls and letters;
  • “When asked what state and local government can do to get them to apply, tenants were most likely to select 'providing clearer communication of eligibility criteria and requirements' (46%), followed by 'allowing payments to be sent directly to tenants' (40%), and 'creating a simpler and more accessible application' (38%);
  • “For landlords, the most selected answer was 'providing clearer communication on who (landlord or tenant) is responsible for applying for emergency rental assistance' (54%), followed by 'creating a simpler and more accessible application' (50%) and 'proving clearer communication of landlord and tenant eligibility' (39%).”

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