Emergency Rental Assistance not enough for big states

Starr Lewis’ aunt and great-uncle both died from COVID-19 at the New Orleans hospital where she worked as a cook.

Lewis, 27, kept going to work as others in the kitchen, too, fell prey to the coronavirus. Soon, the hospital started cutting her hours. By April, she was out of a job. Bills piled on. She fell behind on rent and utilities.

Even many months later, she still hasn’t been able to catch up.

“I’m a person that used to pay her rent on time,” said Lewis, who said she scours the internet all night looking for jobs. “It’s been hard on me because I can’t find help.”

Like Lewis, nearly 40 million Americans behind on rentand threatened with eviction have been waiting on aid from the federal government for nearly a year. Many believed help was on the way after Congress passed on Dec. 21 $25 billion in rental assistance that was supposed to pay rental arrears—in some cases covering up to 12 months of back rent.

But the Emergency Assistance Rental Program will not profit all Americans equally, in line with a USA TODAY evaluation. The authorities funds will overwhelmingly profit white Americans residing in much less populated states regardless that most Americans and most Americans affected by the pandemic and the recession dwell in essentially the most populated states.

Part of the issue is that there wasn’t enough rental help to go round within the first place. Then the federal government determined to calculate support {dollars} for medium and enormous states in line with complete inhabitants whereas giving much less populated states a set quantity. That means renters residing in states like New York, California and Massachusetts—house to among the most costly cities within the nation—will come up quick. Renters in much less populated states like Vermont and Wyoming will get more cash.

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