DC Emergency Rental Assistance Program Fully Funded (For Now)

My recent posting on the latest homeless count in the District noted a couple of Mayor Gray’s budget proposals that could spell a further increase in family homelessness. A $2.3 million cut for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program was among them.

But administration officials have just informed local advocates that ERAP would get $7.4 million under the mayor’s budget — about the same as its original appropriation for the current fiscal year.

Deborah Carroll, the Interim Director of the Department of Human Services, confirmed this during her presentation at a budget briefing the DC Fiscal Policy Institute hosted yesterday.

The ERAP figure I cited was based in part on the Fiscal Year 2012 funding figure in the mayor’s budget presentation to the DC Council and in part on an unannounced reduction made last December as part of the latest gap-closing plan.

So either the mayor’s presentation was in error or someone in the administration has had a change of heart. Hard for an interested outsider to know because there’s no separate line item for ERAP in the budget.

For the same reason, we’ve got to take the full-funding assurance on faith. The budget structure would allow DHS to shift ERAP funds at its discretion — or  just deep-six them to close some future budget gap.

But the assurance is still good news because short-term help with the rent can keep some people from becoming homeless.

And DHS certainly can’t cope with more homeless people, given the large funding loss its homeless services program faces. Probably not even with all the homeless individuals and families it’s serving now.

5 Responses to DC Emergency Rental Assistance Program Fully Funded (For Now)

  1. […] Emergency rental assistance is safe again. [P&P] […]

  2. tonya says:

    I would like to know if there are funds for rental assistance available?

  3. Kathryn Baer says:

    In mid-July, attorneys at Bread for the City wrote that ERAP funds were running short. So I’m not certain whether any remain for this fiscal year, which runs through September. The ERAP program is administered by several local nonprofits. To learn more, I suggest you call Housing Counseling Services at 202-667-7006.

  4. Nate says:

    I would like to know if there are any programs that might offer Emergency Rental Assistance to family that have already received ERAP within that year. If certain circumstances that were out of your control caused you to fall behind. How can you avoid Homelessness?

  5. Kathryn Baer says:

    A good question, Nate, and I don’t have an answer. I’ll ask around and see what I can find out. In the interim, I suggest that you (or whoever you’re inquiring for) go back to the nonprofit that arranged for the initial ERAP grant.

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