May 7 (UPI) — The Biden administration said Friday it has funneled $21.6 billion from the American Rescue Plan to help with rental assistance for Americans impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Treasury Department said the funds will secure basic housing for millions by helping prevent evictions.
For the first time, rental assistance will be offered directly to renters if landlords don’t accept direct payments.
The department said it also will expedite money to renters who are most in need of assistance, cutting down the wait time to five days.
“This infusion of additional support will benefit both renters and landlords and make sure states and localities that have moved quickly to address housing affordability challenges wrought by the public health emergency and its negative economic impacts in their areas will continue to have the resources they need to serve their communities,” the Treasury Department said in a statement.
Friday’s announcement comes two days after a federal judge ruled that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention exceeded its authority last year when it ordered a nationwide moratorium on evictions to help renters remain in their homes during the pandemic.
The issue has been raised in several federal courts and other judges have also ruled against the CDC eviction ban, but the rulings so far have applied only to the parties in the case.