Arizona may redirect some rent-relief dollars to urban areas – Middletown Press

PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona, striving to avoid losing unspent federal pandemic relief funding for rental aid for rural areas, is moving to reallocate some of it to urban areas.

A plan being developed by the state Department of Economic Security is expected to provide more money to programs in metro Phoenix and Tucson that have spent high percentages of their own federal funding to help renters and landlords, the Arizona Republic reported.

DES spokesperson Tasya Peterson said the state knew when it received the $315 million for aid for rural areas that it was more than what was needed to help Arizona’s rural renters.

While the federal government allocate rent-relief money directly to populous cities and counties, dollars given to states cover smaller communities and rural areas.

The state’s program has spent just 10% of its federal funding to help renters, while a federal rule required that triple that rate be spent by Sept. 30.

Now the state must submit a plan by Nov. 15 to get much more money to struggling tenants and landlords, but Peterson said word from the U.S. Treasury Department is “that the funding will stay within a state.”