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U.S. Treasury: jurisdictions with strong rental aid programs to get more funds

·2 min read

WASHINGTON, Sept 14 (Reuters) - The U.S. Treasury said on Tuesday it is awarding the remaining $13 billion in COVID-19 rental assistance money to state, local and tribal governments that have performed well in distributing initial rounds of funds, including to several large Democratic-run cities and counties.

The Treasury said jurisdictions that have distributed all of their first-round allocations and 75% of their second-round allocations can seek to draw down additional funding.

Among jurisdictions cited by Treasury as being in line for new funds are Philadelphia; Honolulu city and county; Hawaii's Department of Hawaiian Home Lands; Des Moines and Polk County, Iowa; Houston and Harris County, Texas; Leon County, Florida; and New Orleans.

"Treasury is happy to provide these state and local government programs with additional resources to support Americans in need of rental assistance," Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo said in a statement. "We are also committed to reallocating resources to ensure assistance reaches struggling tenants and landlords during the pandemic."

The Treasury has warned it will begin to shift funding away from jurisdictions that do not have working assistance programs by the end of September to states and communities that have effective programs.

The $46 billion Emergency Rental Assistance program approved in coronavirus aid bills passed in December and March has been slow to ramp up even as the U.S. Supreme Court struck down an extension of a national eviction moratorium. The funds must be administered locally, and the program has met some resistance in Republican-run states and onerous documentation requirements and implementation problems in other jurisdictions.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen last week urged state and local governments to expedite their programs to avoid lasting economic damage from evictions. (Reporting by David Lawder in Washington Editing by Matthew Lewis)