On Tuesday, October 13th, a Dear Colleague Letter led by U.S. Representative Jamaal Bowman (D-NY), and signed by 18 other U.S. Representatives, called on the U.S. Department of Treasury to prioritize partnerships with local educational agencies in the distribution of Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) funds.
To date, only $10.3 billion of the $46 billion available for Emergency Rental Assistance has been disbursed to households. Schools are well-positioned within communities to connect families to ERA providers, and to directly distribute rental assistance to families in a timely manner.
In the Dear Colleague Letter, Members urged ERA implementation guidance to be revised to include the following recommendations:
- Explicitly authorize local educational agencies (LEAs) to distribute emergency rent relief directly to eligible families, or to landlords on behalf of eligible families, and incentivize ERA grantees to subcontract with public schools for this purpose.
- Clarify the use of ERA for temporary hotel and motel stays for eligible households identified by public schools.
- Encourage the use of ERA housing stability services to fund navigator positions in public schools and early childhood programs to help families access rental assistance
- Address the distribution of funds through schools in the determination of reallocation.