LeadingAge Calls for Rent Relief for Older Adults

Regulation | January 29, 2021 | by Juliana Bilowich

As the new Administration rolls out billions in relief for struggling renters, LeadingAge urges the Treasury Department to reach older adults and the communities that serve them.

As the Department of Treasury continues to roll-out its new $25 billion rent relief program, LeadingAge weighed in with urgent considerations for reaching older adults with low incomes. 

The Emergency Rental Assistance program, or ERA, was approved by Congress at the end of December, and the Administration has moved quickly to set up the funds. The program is designed to flow through local or state channels to help cover rent and utility arears, as well as future rent and utility costs, for households struggling due to COVID-19. Landlords or property owners will be able to apply on behalf of residents, but eligibility for HUD-assisted households is still unclear.

During a call this week with the Treasury Department, HUD, and the White House, LeadingAge urged the country's leaders to consider older adults, who may not have lost income during the pandemic but are still facing financial hardships. 

LeadingAge reiterated the concerns in a January 29th letter to the Administration. "In its current design, the program has the potential to leave out older adults who are in need of rent relief," reads the letter. 

Specifically, LeadingAge calls for the Treasury Department to reduce barriers to participation by expanding eligibility beyond those who have lost income, and by allowing residents to self-certify their income and financial hardship eligibility for the new program. 

The letter also urges Treasury to clarify the eligibility of residents living in federally-subsidized housing, while limiting relief funds to the tenant rent portion in order to avoid duplicative uses of the rental assistance funds. Lastly, the letter suggests expanding data tracing and reporting on the funds to include factors that will demonstrate the impact of relief on older adults. 

To read the letter, click here. To read more about the Emergency Rental Assistance program, click here