Treasury lacks data on pandemic-era rental assistance payments, report says

The Treasury Department has been collecting or reporting wage data for the purpose of the pandemic to help Americans avoid layoffs, according to a report by the Government Accountability Office released Tuesday. .

The agency’s $46 billion Emergency Rent Assistance program aims to help households affected by the COVID-19 pandemic with rent and expenses, and to provide affordable housing below the 50 percent of the regional average. But according to the GAO report, the agency did not have data for 26% of the payments it made to households across the country last year.

The Consolidated Revenue Act of 2021 requires the Treasury Department to “collect and report six demographically disaggregated activities (race, ethnicity, and gender) from grantees all” and report at least quarterly.

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But the GAO report found as of Nov. 1, the agency had collected “inconsistent information.” In fact, in the first three quarters of 2021, data “disaggregated by demographics were missing for 44-55% of reported households,” mostly due to non-reporters.

In the fourth quarter of 2021, data was missing for 19% of the houses in operation, in addition to missing information for 26% of all prices in 2021. In November 1, there is no population information for 2022.

GAO said the Treasury Department has taken steps to improve oversight, including conducting an assessment of non-payment risks related to the ERA, but said the agency’s review did not focus on missing payment data or additional payments sent to households receiving assistance.

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“Without a better assessment of unfair payment risks, the Treasury will have little awareness of these risks and oversight of the ERA program,” the report said.

The Ministry of Finance also did not address the problem of disbursements to ineligible participants, the report said, although available data showed that 85% of beneficiaries for the first round of ERA fees are true low income renters.

GAO directed the Treasury Department’s agency chief of recovery programs to conduct a comprehensive review of the ERA’s ability to provide relief. The report also ordered the agency to collect and publish “complete and accurate data” on payees, including monthly payment data and information on the rate of missing or inaccurate data. .

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The Treasury Department agreed with all of GAO’s comments. The department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The GAO has issued previous reports pointing to oversight issues for the agency’s ERA program, including challenges and efforts to expedite payments and maintain regulatory oversight. the prices are right. The agency said in response to those recent reports that it plans to establish a mechanism to identify and recover improper payments.


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