•  1.2 million households could face eviction at the end of this month
  • Just over $3 billion has been spent of the $45 billion rental aid program
  • Some states have faced difficulties in distribution due to infrastructure problems
  • CDC has said the pause in evictions may not be extended beyond this month end

A federal eviction moratorium is due to expire at the end of this month, but just over $3 billion from a $45 billion federal program for rental assisance has been spent so far even as millions of Americans still struggle to pay rent the threat of a wave of evictions looms large. 

Just $1.5 billion was distributed in rental assistance last month from $45 billion program, which is part of stimulus package passed in December, Fox News reported. Over the course of the first half of this year, approximately 6.6%, or $3 billion, of the fund has been distributed by state and local officials.

While 290,000 households were served in June compared to 160,000 from May, the numbers are still small to bring timely help to around 1.2 million households that could face eviction at the end of this month.

The U.S. Treasury Department urged state and local governments to “do more to accelerate aid to struggling renters.” Housing activists have previously warned that further delays in distributing rental aid could lead to record-breaking evictions through the remaining months of 2021.

The eviction moratorium was initially due for expiration in June, but the Biden administration extended it to the end of July. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said this could be the final extension to the pause. Groups representing landlords have called for ending the moratorium and even sued to force the issue.

Recent data from the Center on Budget Policy and Priorities found that more than 11 million people in the country are behind on rent payments, CBS reported.

An increasing number of states have implemented protection plans for renters in the vulnerable group, but distributing the rental assistance remains a challenge as many cities lack the necessary infrastructure.  Oregon, which has a backlog of more than 10,000 renters seeking assitance, has paused evictions for 60 days for those unable to pay their rents for July or August if they provide proof to their landlord that they've applied for rental assistance through Oregon Housing and Community Services.

The remaining days of the month could play a crucial role in disbursing as much rental aid as possible, experts said. Here is an online interactive tool to help tenants determine if they are eligible for rental protection.

Tenants have also raised their own concerns about the program, NPR reported. Some applicants said the application process can be complicated, and for non-native English speakers, the forms can be confusing. There have also been cases wherein tenants and landlords have clashed over trust issues.

Several local governments have offered assistance in different forms to help tenants faced with eviction. Washington, California and New York are among the states that offer right-to-counsel programs to help tenants with legal representation in the worst-case scenarios.

EvictionSisters-C-LCO-1-scaled The federal eviction moratorium is set to expire at the end of the month but that may not be enough time for the millions of Americans who are still behind on rent. Photo: Creative