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Wall Street Journal: Millions of Tenants Fall Further Behind on Rent as They Await Federal Covid-19 Assistance

Media Coverage Mar 01 2021

Many states have yet to distribute $25 billion they received from the Treasury Department to help renters

Wall Street Journal

By Andrew Ackerman and Will Parker

1 March 2021


Tenants who are behind on their rent are still waiting for $25 billion in assistance that Congress appropriated in December, as millions of households and landlords fall deeper into debt.

According to a Census Bureau survey conducted last month, about 17% of renters are now behind on their payments—three times the typical rate.

Many state and local governments have cut staff during pandemic and are ill-equipped to build and administer rental-assistance programs, said Brad Gair, senior managing director at emergency services consulting firm Witt O’Brien’s.

“You need the staff to design the programs and to implement them. Case management, call centers—that’s a little more than a lot of [local governments] can handle,” Mr. Gair said. His firm has been hired to help administer rental assistance and other forms of pandemic relief in Kansas and other states and by local governments including King County, Wash., home to Seattle.