The Biden administration will shift federal rental assistance funds to states with greater demand.

Earlier this year, Congress approved nearly $47 billion in rental assistance to aid tenants at risk for eviction. However, only a fraction of the money has been spent — leaving many states and localities with more funds than they require.

The Wall Street Journal reported:

The officials said they couldn’t specify which jurisdictions would lose and gain funds. But they said those with large amounts of unused funds include rural states — like Montana and North Dakota — while local officials in several more populous states — like New York and Texas — are expected to exhaust their rental-assistance money over the coming week and months.

Officials said an initial reallocation, set to be unveiled in early December, could exceed $800 million and come at the request of states and localities that acknowledge they have more money than they can spend. Much of that money may be moved within states, rather than from one state to another — for instance, from a state-run program to a city-run program, or vice versa.

The Journal added that $20 billion of the initial $47 billion allocation will be used by the end of the year.

“There is less unspent money today than there was six months ago, but we’re still committed to make sure that the money that is unspent gets reallocated as quickly as possible,” commented Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo. “There is a need to make sure that we get this money to tenants who need it.”

In addition to the rental assistance funds, President Trump authorized an eviction moratorium through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in response to COVID-19 and the lockdown-induced recession. On his first day in office, President Biden extended the moratorium and attempted another extension on August 3. 

When pressed by reporters if he believes the moratorium is constitutional, Biden said “I think it is,” though he continued that he “can’t guarantee” the Supreme Court would not strike down the order.

“I can’t guarantee you the court won’t rule that we don’t have that authority but at least we’ll have the ability to if we have to appeal, to keep this going for a month at least,” Biden said. “I hope longer.”

Indeed, the Supreme Court blocked the order at the end of August — but not before it caused landlords major headaches. One property owner from North Carolina told Fox News that he had not been paid $24,000 in rent — even as his tenants spent money on boats and other luxuries.

“[The money] was used, they went and bought brand new boats, but I mean, you know in a time of crisis like what we’ve been through, you’re evidently getting money from somewhere, but it’s not getting to me,” he said. “It goes way beyond the loss of rental income, we’re still bound by county rules and laws. We have to maintain the property.”

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