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D.C. set to receive an additionl $17 million in rent relief funds

The U.S. Treasury redistributed emergency rental assistance money that other jurisdictions did not use

Signs that read “No Job No Rent” hang from the windows of an apartment building on May 20, 2020 in Northwest Washington. (Andrew Harnik/AP)

Washington, D.C., will receive another $17.7 million in federal rental assistance money as part of a reallocation of cash that other jurisdictions failed to use.

The money from the Biden administration’s Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) Program will flow into STAY DC, the District’s program to distribute the money. Since launching in April 2021, the program has disbursed $352 million in funding to more than 23,000 residents.

“That was something we showed in our application for the fundings, that we could administer these kinds of funds and the need is going to continue,” said John Falcicchio, D.C.’s deputy mayor for planning and economic development.

Washington was one of the top programs nationally in terms of distributing rent relief. That funding, however, was exhausted and applications closed by late October. City officials credit the federal rent relief money for helping stave off a crush of evictions as the city’s moratorium on evictions began to wind down last all. Beginning Jan. 1, landlords were allowed to resume filing eviction cases.

In the meantime, the Biden administration began a process of reallocating funding from the ERA Program that went unused by some cities, counties and states. The leftover amount of federal funding for reallocation was $209 million.

More than half a billion dollars went to keeping D.C.-area renters in their homes ahead of federal deadline

According to Falcicchio, the District applied for a portion of the reallocated funding in November.

“Pound for pound we did pretty well for reallocation,” Falcicchio said of the District’s share. According to a list of recipients, first reported by Politico, no jurisdiction in Maryland received money from the reallocation. In Virginia, only Chesterfield County, near Richmond, received some, $737,866.

Compared with D.C.’s $17.7 million, the entire state of New York received $27 million.

The latest infusion of cash comes as D.C. families continue to struggle with rent and utilities payments during the pandemic. Twelve percent of D.C. families sampled in the latest Pulse Survey from the U.S. Census Bureau reported they were not yet caught up on back rent.

“Our unmet need is still in the tens of millions of dollars,” Falcicchio said. “This will help us pay that down.”