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What Can We Learn from Communities About Equitably Providing Emergency Rental Assistance?

The COVID-19 pandemic and its economic impacts upended Americans’ lives, harming Black, Latinx, and Indigenous people, in particular. These communities have had the highest infection and death rates, have been most affected by job and wage losses, and have had the highest food and housing insecurity rates. As of March 2021, more than 10 million renters were not caught up on their rent, and renters of color were more than twice as likely to report being behind than their white counterparts. 

With close to $50 billion available in emergency rental assistance, housing leaders at the state and local levels are grappling with how to design and/or scale up programs to deliver funds equitably and in a manner that reaches households most at risk of housing instability and homelessness. 

The Urban Institute created the Emergency Rental Assistance Prioritization (ERAP) tool to help states and localities identify neighborhoods where low-income renters face the greatest risk of housing insecurity. First launched in August 2020, we updated the tool this April to reflect the most recently available data. In this webinar, we will provide information about the tool and how to use it as well as share other resources states and localities can leverage when designing and implementing equitable rental assistance programs. We will also highlight two local programs centering racial equity in their program design and using the ERAP tool to prioritize outreach and shape the provision of assistance. 



  • Samantha Batko, Senior Research Associate, Urban Institute 
  • Andrea Bell, Director of Housing Stabilization, Oregon Housing and Community Services 
  • Joanne Karchmer, Chief Impact Officer, All Home 
  • Monique King-Viehland, Associate Vice President, Urban Institute (moderator)


Funding for this event was provided by the Schultz Family Foundation. For more on Urban’s funding policies, go to

We strive to host inclusive, accessible events that enable all individuals, including individuals with disabilities, to engage fully. Please email [email protected] if you require any accommodations or have any questions about this event.

Photo credit: SeaRick1/Shutterstock


Date & Time Tuesday, May 25, 2021

  • Senior Fellow
  • Associate Vice President, Metropolitan Housing and Communities Policy