Evaluation Design for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program
What was the challenge?
The Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) program is overseen by the U.S. Department of the Treasury (Treasury) and provides over $46 billion in funding to states, territories, and other entities to assist households that are unable to pay rent or utilities, with the goal of preventing eviction or housing instability in the wake of the pandemic. The program provides direct cash assistance to renters (and landlords) in order to help with rent, utilities, and other housing related expenses.
What did we do?
OES partnered with Treasury to identify and recommend data sources and evaluation opportunities to measure the equity and efficacy of the ARP funds spent through the ERA program. OES developed a list of data sources to help assess outcomes for renters receiving assistance and equity of fund disbursement. OES then designed descriptive and impact evaluation options to assess a range of important economic and equity outcomes.
What did we learn?
OES identified a number of short-term and longer-term evidence-building opportunities to use administrative data to build evidence to understand the role of ERA in improving outcomes for historically underserved populations.