BROOKLYN, NY, Nov. 18, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Edquity, which helps government agencies and higher education institutions distribute cash assistance in a manner that is equitable, effective, and federally compliant, today announced the launch of a new platform designed to support the administration of emergency rental assistance programs (ERAP). Over the past six months, Edquity has distributed more than $75 million in federal funding through partnerships with colleges and community organizations nationwide.
Edquity's new rental assistance platform, developed through a tech sprint hosted through a collaboration between the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and The Opportunity Project (TOP) of the U.S. Census Bureau, draws on the principles originally developed by Edquity to distribute emergency financial assistance to college students. Edquity's approach in postsecondary education, which centers equity and justice in its calculation of aid eligibility, is rooted in landmark research by Sara Goldrick-Rab, founding director for the Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice and the nation's leading expert on the topic of emergency aid and student financial insecurity. On average, students receive funds from Edquity within 24 hours of applying, compared with the national average of 13 days.
"To date, cities, counties, and states have spent less than 30 percent of the $47 billion Congress has allocated to emergency rental assistance — leaving millions of people who are on the brink of eviction without access to the financial support they desperately need and deserve," said David Helene, Founder and CEO of Edquity. "Thanks to the support of the CFPB, we're prepared to join forces with public agencies across the country to ensure that rental assistance dollars find their way into the hands of the families and individuals that need them the most to keep them in their homes."
Using a similar approach that centers equity and speed in decision making, Edquity's rental assistance platform enables state and local governments to quickly verify eligibility, batch process applications, distribute payment, and track distribution against census tracts to make disbursement strategies more effective over time. The platform leverages the Urban Institute's rental assistance prioritization index to enable housing authorities and rental assistance providers to target their most vulnerable communities with ERAP dollars.
"The Opportunity Project (TOP) model provides a platform for cross-sector collaboration. The Edquity tool leverages technology to provide communities with access to the actionable data and information they need to effectively respond to this immediate and critical challenge," said Drew Zachary, Co-Founder and Director of The Opportunity Project at the U.S. Census Bureau.
"Stable housing is essential to consumer welfare. Still, millions of households are at risk of eviction and landlords are at risk of losing their rental properties due to the continued impact of the COVID-19 pandemic," said Ann Epstein, assistant director, office of innovation, CFPB. "This is the case despite numerous resources available to help prevent displacement and the loss of housing. Thank you to everyone who participated in The Opportunity Project's "World Post-COVID-19" sprint. By helping advise, share insights, and create innovative solutions that will connect renters and small landlords to Emergency Rental Assistance funds and other housing resources, you have shown that we are better when we work together to address critical issues; and we are confident that our collective efforts will make a difference in the fight against housing insecurity."
Edquity works with a diverse cross-section of organizations and universities including Dallas College, San Diego Community College District, Southern New Hampshire University, and the United Way of King County, among tens of others. Recent research from Compton College indicates that students funded through Edquity were twice as likely to graduate and earn their degree.
Edquity stands ready to support state and local governments around the distribution of both ERAP 1 and ERAP 2 immediately.
Edquity is an end-to-end provider of emergency cash transfers on behalf of institutions and government, supporting application, decision, and payment to ensure these programs perform quickly, equitably, and effectively. In postsecondary education, Edquity has helped colleges deliver over $75 million in federal funding to nearly 100,000 students in the past year, with an average funding time of 25 hours. Edquity's methodology harnesses the collective power of sociology, behavioral science, and technology to address common pitfalls in awarding, including racial bias, inefficiency, compliance risk, and lack of transparency and monitoring. Edquity's work is proven to increase student persistence and completion and has been supported by leading impact organizations including the Lumina Foundation, ECMC Foundation, the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation, the Kresge Foundation, Strada Education Network, and Imaginable Futures, among others.