COVID relief for emergency rental assistance – broadband relief is acceptable use

Thanks to the NDIA listserv, I found out about a way that the Emergency Rental Assistance can be used for broadband. From the FAQ regarding the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (published 2/22/2021)…

The Act provides that ERA funds may be used for “other expenses related to housing incurred due, directly or indirectly, to” the COVID-19 outbreak, as defined by the Secretary. What are some examples of these “other expenses”? The Act requires that other expenses must be related to housing and be incurred due directly or indirectly due to COVID-19. Such expenses include relocation expenses and rental fees (if a household has been temporarily or permanently displaced due to the COVID-19 outbreak); reasonable accrued late fees (if not included in rental or utility arrears and if incurred due to COVID-19); and Internet service provided to the rental unit. Internet service provided to a residence is related to housing and is in many cases a vital service that allows renters to engage in distance learning, telework, and telemedicine and obtain government services. However, given that coverage of Internet would reduce the amount of funds available for rental assistance, grantees should adopt policies that govern in what circumstances that they will determine that covering this cost would be appropriate. All payments for housing-related expenses must be supported by documentary evidence such as a bill, invoice, or evidence of payment to the provider of the service.

This entry was posted in Digital Divide, Funding and tagged by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

Librarian who follows rural broadband in MN and good uses of new technology (, hosts a radio show on MN music (, supports people experiencing homelessness in Minnesota ( and helps with social justice issues through Women’s March MN.

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