FEMA and HUD in September jointly released “Model Transitions from Non-Congregate Shelter: Joint Recommendations for Assisting People Experiencing Homelessness,” a document that provides information to communities on strategies and funding sources to help individuals and families avoid returning to homelessness and become stably housed after leaving COVID-specific non-congregate shelter.
Advocacy and Research
The free IRS Non-Filer Sign Up Tool to access both Economic Impact Payments (stimulus checks) and the Child Tax Credit closes on October 15. Check out National Alliance to End Homelessness resources on the impact these payments have on people experiencing homelessness.
Matthew Desmond, director of the Eviction Lab and Pulitzer Prize-winning author, wrote an op-ed in the New York Times explaining why the federal eviction moratorium was among the most important public health interventions of the pandemic. Evictions are a public health crisis now and will continue to be after the pandemic has passed. Desmond urges legislators to take advantage of the once-in-a-generation opportunity to invest $327 billion in affordable housing through the Build Back Better Act.
The Associated Press reports on the Treasury Department’s recently released emergency rental assistance (ERA) reallocation guidance. Treasury officials did not identify any states or localities that could lose money, but the August spending data indicate there are many grantees that have been slow in distributing ERA.
State and Local News
An estimated 77,000 (13%) renter households in Maricopa County are at risk for eviction. The estimated number of households behind on rent has increased since July when approximately 65,600 households were behind.
About three weeks after program administrators made significant policy changes to Arkansas’ rent relief program, nearly $5 million in emergency rental assistance (ERA) has been distributed. Since the policy changes were enacted, Arkansas ERA distribution has increased nearly 400%. About 14,000 Arkansans are still waiting for ERA.
California’s statewide eviction moratorium ended on September 30. Starting on October 1, California tenants can only be protected from evictions if they have applied for emergency rental assistance. As of September 27, more than 309,000 households have applied for assistance totaling nearly $3 billion.
While California’s statewide eviction moratorium ended on September 30, some California cities and counties will have ongoing protections for renters. The Los Angeles Times explains current tenant protections in L.A. County.
The San Diego Housing Commission said on September 30 the city has run out of emergency rental assistance (ERA) funds, including the $13 million Mayor Todd Gloria said was still available as of September 27. In addition to the lack of available aid, advocates and tenants are concerned since current eviction protections are tied to the tenant having a pending ERA application and that funds are available.
Since the CDC eviction moratorium ended, evictions in southwest Florida have been on the rise. Data indicate evictions are occurring at a higher rate in the region than they were last year. Charlotte County data show evictions have been steadily increasing over the past three months, and data from Lee County indicate a 30% increase in evictions from last year.
Illinois’ eviction moratorium expired on October 3, and thousands of renters could soon face eviction. Help is still available for tenants in need of assistance. More than $443 million in emergency rental assistance has been paid on behalf of 49,1000 households statewide through the Illinois Rental Payment Program. Learn more about available resources here.
Cook County’s new court-based rental assistance program, funded through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), launched October 1. The court-based program is part of an additional round of rent relief available through the Cook County Emergency Rental and Utility Assistance Program. Applications for the additional $75 million in rent relief opened on October 4.
The Indianapolis Star reports that as thousands face eviction across the state, Indiana state lawmakers sent a letter to Governor Eric Holcomb urging him to accelerate the distribution of much-needed emergency rental assistance (ERA). Indiana fell short of a federal deadline to obligate at least 65% of ERA by September 30 or risk Treasury recapturing the funds. According to Eviction Lab data, there were over 1,000 evictions filed in Indianapolis during each of the past two weeks.
The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development announced on September 30 the Emergency Rental Assistance Program has approved $135 million to assist 15,000 renters affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Early projections show a continued positive trend with an estimated more than $50 million in assistance to be paid out in September. To see complete program data, visit rentrelief.maryland.gov and click on “Data Dashboard.”
The News & Observer reports a Durham landlord, Rick Soles, is refusing emergency rental assistance (ERA) from 160 tenants that have applied for aid. Soles has only completed his portion of the application for only two of the 160 tenants that have applied for ERA. Last week, Sole was the plaintiff in over 100 eviction hearings, and he told the magistrate multiple times that he is not accepting aid from the ERA program.
Evictions in Memphis have been on the rise since the federal eviction moratorium was overturned, allowing a growing backlog of eviction cases to reach the Shelby County General Sessions Civil Court. More than 20,000 evictions have been filed in Memphis courts since March 2020. There were 457 evictions filed in Memphis courts between August 22 and August 29 – the highest number of evictions filed during the pandemic.
The Texas Supreme Court extended the Texas Eviction Diversion Program through November and expanded renters’ ability to protect their eviction records. The court’s emergency order keeps eviction records of tenants who have pending applications for rental assistance confidential.
Wisconsin Public Radio reports evictions in Wisconsin have increased since the CDC eviction moratorium ended, and these numbers may get worse if rental assistance delays continue. Eviction filings have increased by 55% since the moratorium ended. Increasingly long wait times for receiving rental assistance means a tidal wave of evictions could still occur.
Department of Housing and Urban Development
- Re-Housing Individuals Experiencing Homelessness from COVID-Specific Non-Congregate Shelter Webinar [Materials Posted]
- COVID-19 Homeless System Response: Make the Most of Federal Resources to Stop Increases in Homelessness – September 2021
- COVID-19 Homeless System Response: Housing Problem-Solving – October 2021
Department of Treasury