Billions of pandemic rental stimulus funds remain unspent – here’s how to apply
With many Americans behind on their rent, more than 75% of the $ 46.6 billion in pandemic funds are still available, according to new data from the U.S. Treasury.
Despite improvements in giving cash to households in need, only 510,000 households received “tenant stimulus checks” last month. It’s money tenants can use to catch up on bills and pay off debts.
Only around $ 2.8 billion was disbursed in September, but that’s only 11% more than a month earlier.
Here’s how to find relief today if you’re struggling to pay your rent and other bills.
Tens of billions still stuck, but making it out
So far, tenants have only received $ 10 billion in rent assistance, although some improvements have been made by different states to reduce bottlenecks.
The funds may have prevented fewer Americans from losing their homes after the national moratorium on evictions ended in August. Eviction requests are lower than historic levels, according to the Treasury.
The government still plans to make more than 3 million payments by the end of this year.
In August, the Biden administration announced a series of new steps to help states and localities speed up the distribution of cash to families facing critical needs.
Places where rental aid works
If you or someone you know has tried to request emergency rental assistance and became frustrated or confused in the process, you can contact your local housing authority to see if things have improved.
Some places have been improved. Michigan, Minnesota and North Carolina gave their tenants 14% more last month than before, reports the Treasury.
Los Angeles more than doubled its disbursements to $ 72 million in September, from $ 32 million a month earlier. Illinois paid 185% more ($ 177 million) last month, up from $ 62 million in August.
Social workers have worked in the courts to ensure that those facing eviction know how to apply for emergency financial assistance.
Other areas have overcome language and technical barriers by using community nonprofit organizations to work with tenants and landlords.
Renters may not realize it, but this help can pay other bills besides housing. You can pay for utilities and home energy costs. It can also cover internet costs at your home, reasonable late fees, and moving expenses for families who need to find another place to live.
To find out more about how funds are distributed, who is eligible and how to apply locally, contact the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Create your own rental relief
While you are waiting for help or if you are not eligible, here are some ways to improve your finances:
Eliminate debt. One way to stretch your budget is to make it more manageable. You can replace your high interest debt with just one low interest debt consolidation loan. This will prevent you from spending your money unnecessarily on high interest charges, which can help you free yourself from your debts earlier.
Find a better job. There are many positions waiting to be filled at this time. Some offer higher wages and other incentives just to get you through the door. A new, higher paying job can give you more money to spend on your bills. Some companies even offer training opportunities to improve your skills, potentially opening up more career options for you.
Buy smarter. Bargain hunting can free up some of your money, and it’s now easier than ever. By downloading a free browser extension that automatically scans thousands of retailers for lower prices, you can save – a lot of time.
Make a few extra pennies work for you. Sometimes at a cash register, a clerk asks you to round up a few cents of your purchase for a good cause. Now with a popular app you can do it yourself. Turn your ” spare part “ from daily purchases to an investment portfolio that pays you dividends.
This article provides information only and should not be construed as advice. It is provided without warranty of any kind.