A new report from the Terner Center for Housing Innovation explores how lessons learned from the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) can aid in building local institutional capacity. The paper draws on interviews with 41 stakeholders with insights into the design and distribution of ERA funding at the local level, as well as how local institutional and nonprofit capacity shaped decision-making. The findings inform key lessons to both improve the implementation of future emergency response efforts while advancing longer-term systemic reforms to improve the delivery and uptake of programs more broadly.
One key finding was that local government capacity helped determine the extent to which jurisdictions used partners to assist in deploying ERAP, as well as how ERAP funds were used. Existing relationships, expertise, and capacity of potential partners in and around each community also influenced the design and approach of local ERAP implementation. The report also found that the magnitude of resources deployed through ERAP helped expand the capacity of local institutions, but that this capacity may be scaled back absent further federal action.
The report also covers several lessons learned for improving emergency response efforts, such as how to provide clear guidance and minimize burdensome requirements, ensuring a responsive communication infrastructure, and building sufficient administrative funding and support for capacity building.