Abstract for: Effectively Deploying Emergency rental assistance (ERA) to avoid evictions

In January 2021, nearly 20% of adults (older than age 18) living in renter-occupied housing units reported not being caught up on rent payments are not currently caught up on rent payments and the problem has remained persistent over time. In response to a looming eviction crisis, the Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) program made funding available to assist households with rent and utilities. Between ERA1 and ERA2, almost 42 billion dollars were made available to local governments. However, by August 2021, eight months after the ERA program was launched, local governments had distributed only around 30% of the allocated funding. However, Louisville at the same time had disbursed almost 100% of allocated money. We are building a dynamic hypothesis using the theory of capability traps to explain how a local government able to disperse funding efficiently as well as what it would take to sustain such an effort. The goal is to use the model as a learning tool for other local entities to better understand design principles for effective deployment of emergency rental assistance.