With billions of tenant stimulus checks tied up in bureaucracy, how do you get one?
As the pandemic continues to put financial strain on many Americans, millions of people are falling behind on their rent. Yet tens of billions of dollars in emergency rental assistance, approved as part of federal COVID assistance, are still available, according to new data from the U.S. Treasury.
Despite efforts to speed up the pace of distribution, only a fraction of the government’s âtenant stimulus checksâ have been channeled to the people who need them, officials said. It’s a help that could help tenants catch up, pay their bills and pay off their debts.
Money can be hard to come by, but it’s not impossible, and officials say the process is improving. Meanwhile, a nationwide eviction ban was halted in late August by a U.S. Supreme Court ruling, exacerbating the state of emergency for many tenants.
Tens of billions of rent relief bogged down
The latest two COVID stimulus packages passed by Congress have set aside a total of $ 46.6 billion to help tenants pay overdue rents and utility costs. But only around $ 7.7 billion has been distributed so far – barely 16.5% of the money, the Treasury revealed on Friday.
Yet aid reached more than 420,000 households in August, up from 340,000 in July, officials said.
While the funds are provided by Washington, they are distributed through hundreds of programs at state and local levels. And “many jurisdictions still have work to do to meet the urgent demand for this relief in their communities,” the Treasury said in a press release.
With grants distributed among many housing authorities, each with their own resource and capacity constraints, tenants in different locations have not received the same levels of service or responsiveness.
But you or someone you know has tried applying for emergency rent assistance and became frustrated with a long or confusing process, you should check with the local housing authority. The Treasury says things are improving and that “many programs have proven their ability to speed up aid effectively.”
Hold-ups add to the challenges tenants face
The stimulus assistance available to tenants can be significant. In Illinois, tenants and eligible landlords can apply for one-time grants of up to $ 25,000 to repay up to 15 months of missed rent between June 2020 and August 2021.
The program in Texas covers unpaid rents and utilities as of March 13, 2020, and can pay up to two months of future rent and utilities. Relief for Texas renters is capped at $ 4,600 per month.
But as problems continue to block rent assistance in parts of the country, things have gotten darker for tenants. After the Biden administration extended the national moratorium on evictions until October 3, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the ban because Congress had not authorized it.
Anyone evicted in the next few months could have a much harder time finding affordable housing, as rents skyrocket.
Rents for single-family homes are increasing at the fastest rate in 16 and a half years, according to new data from CoreLogic. Rents in July rose 8.5% from the previous year, according to the study.
Make your own rent relief
The administration “continues to call on states and localities to put in place measures to ensure that no one is evicted until they have the opportunity to apply for rental assistance and to ensure that no evictions go so far. that this request has not been processed, âthe Treasury said.
While you’re waiting for rent relief – or if you don’t qualify and need extra help – here are some ways you can create some financial leeway.
Eliminate debt. If your budget is stretched to the limit each month due to multiple high interest debts, consider consolidating them into one low interest debt consolidation loan. You’ll pay less interest and potentially eliminate your debt sooner.
Get a new job. The current hiring boom in the United States is a great opportunity to find a new, better paying job. If you are happy where you are at, but want to generate a little more income by working as a freelance, there are a lot of people out there who will pay for your skills.
Cut costs when you shop. You can save money when shopping online by downloading a free browser extension that will automatically search thousands of retailers for lower prices and prevent you from paying too much.
Earn money by investing your money. Even if you are strapped for cash, it can be surprisingly easy to earn income from the stock market. A popular app allows you to invest in a diversified portfolio using only your “coin” from your daily purchases.
This article provides information only and should not be construed as advice. It is provided without warranty of any kind.