Treasury and White House officials admitted on a conference call Tuesday evening that the program will not ramp up fast enough to completely prevent an eviction wave, even if judges allowed it to remain in effect until its scheduled expiration date on Oct.26 .
[Read more on why it’s been so challenging getting aid to renters.]
But you also mentioned progress. State and local authorities have started steadily increasing payments to hundreds of thousands of households at risk of eviction, most of them going to low-income renters. They also believe the pace of payments accelerated further in August.
On Wednesday, the Treasury Department introduced a series of incremental changes designed to pressure states to act faster. However, administrative officials continue to blame local officials for the program’s struggles, many of whom are reluctant to take advantage of the program’s new expedited application process, which allows tenants to verify their financial information on their own.
In recent weeks, local officials have complained that acting too quickly on aid requests could lead to errors, fraud and audits; The White House countered this by saying these risks are insignificant compared to a wave of evictions hit renters who don’t get their help fast enough to keep a roof over their heads.
“You can and should use simpler applications, faster processes and the ability to self-validate without unnecessary delays,” added Sperling.
Several states, including Texas, have been particularly effective in building their aid distribution systems, officials said. But many others – particularly New York, Florida, Tennessee, Ohio, and South Carolina – have been sluggish, making tenants particularly vulnerable to evictions after the moratorium was lifted, they said.
New York Governor Kathy Hochul, who was sworn in this week, said speeding up the system was one of her top priorities.