Why Billions in Federal Rental Assistance Has Failed to Reach Renters, Landlords

Bureaucratic wrangling, technical malfunctions, strict documentation requirements: These are just a few of the reported reasons that billions of dollars in federal aid have failed to reach renters and landlords as the debate over the eviction moratorium has dragged on.

An analysis by USA Today this week revealed a broad variety of causes for the delays. “Many states contracted third-party vendors to lead the programs, requiring lengthy procurement processes that delayed the initial rollout of money,” the paper reports.

“Computer systems in several states malfunctioned, preventing renters from applying. Some states are forcing tenants to provide more documentation than required by federal law, which experts say has created unnecessary hurdles to get money out the door.”

The paper notes that South Carolina is among the states whose distribution of assistance funds has moved at a glacial pace. The state recently removed several paperwork requirements for eligible renters to speed the process along. Yet “the state is still requiring income documentation, going beyond requirements from the Treasury Department.”

New York State, meanwhile, “hadn’t gotten any money to renters or landlords” until July, a delay that has been blamed on the state’s prioritized tenant schedule as well as its “cumbersome application process.”

The current federal eviction moratorium expires on Oct. 3.