Treasury approves millions in rental assistance reallocations

This week, the U.S. Department of the Treasury updated federal Emergency Rental Assistance guidelines allowing Georgia agencies such as the Department of Community Affairs to reallocate funds to other rental assistance programs within the state.  DCA has been providing emergency rental assistance to residents in need and working with 12 local cities and counties that have separately funded programs.  DCA recently recommended the reallocation of $78.6 million to local jurisdictions needing additional ERA funds.

“As Georgia’s Capital County, we are proud of our strong partnership with State leaders,” said Fulton Commission Chairman Robb Pitts.  “DCA has worked closely with us at every step, and we appreciate their positive response to our request for additional funds. Our team has proven that we will be able to distribute these resources efficiently and effectively to serve Fulton County residents.” 

DeKalb CEO Michael Thurmond echoed this sentiment: “I want to thank Commissioner Chris Nunn and the Department of Community Affairs for their continued efforts to provide rental assistance in DeKalb and across the state of Georgia. This much-needed funding will allow us to continue processing the 5,000 pending rental assistance applications remaining in our system,” said Thurmond.

“This program has been ever-evolving,” said DCA Commissioner Christopher Nunn.  “Initially, Treasury advised that states would not be allowed to reallocate funds to jurisdictions receiving separate funding.  For this reason, Georgia’s 13 programs have operated under a mutual agreement that the State would step in when and if local funds were exhausted.  When Treasury’s guidance changed, we saw an opportunity. Many jurisdictions had numerous pending applications and consistently high demands for funds. By reallocation, we can help move money directly to those jurisdictions and take advantage of existing infrastructure to quickly assist those in need.  This is a win-win for everyone.”   

When Treasury rolled this program out last year, there was no data to determine the need for emergency assistance, so $25 billion was distributed formulaically.  Twelve large counties and cities in Georgia, defined by having more than 200,000 residents, received between one and four percent of the total funds allocated for Georgia under ERA1, while the State received the balance or nearly 78 percent of $710 million.

To avoid additional and unnecessary confusion to renters and landlords, each Georgia program operated independently. DCA initially focused on serving 148 counties outside the metro areas.  Under Treasury’s guidance, DCA expanded its program statewide in mid-August as several local jurisdictions began exhausting their funds and stopped accepting new applications.  The voluntary reallocation option allows the state to assist the 12 programs, helping all to quickly disperse funds to qualified applicants.

The programs requesting additional assistance to satisfy their local needs are:

Fulton County   $25 million

Henry County   $15 million

DeKalb County $25 million

Clayton County $7 million

Hall County      $6.6 million.