Coronavirus Updates – December 6, 2021

National Updates

Department of Homeland Security (DHS)

The Department of Homeland Security sent an updated interagency letter on November 16 concerning public charge. The letter lists several programs not included in a public charge determination, including housing benefits, state and local benefits, and emergency disaster relief – which can include FEMA, Coronavirus Relief Funds, and emergency rental assistance. The letter notes the importance of ensuring immigrants are not deterred from using needed public benefits.


The Associated Press and Newsweek address new federal emergency rental assistance (ERA) data released by the Treasury Department on November 29, highlighting that several large states and cities have exhausted their ERA allocations.

Reuters reports states and local governments distributed more than $2.8 billion in emergency rental assistance (ERA) funds to more than 521,000 renters in October, the Treasury Department announced on November 29.

HuffPost examines rental assistance distribution gaps emerging between states. While some states like California, New York, and Texas are running out of funds, others like Montana and North Dakota have barely distributed any aid.

The Wall Street Journal and the Hill report the Treasury Department will begin reallocating funds from grantees that have unused emergency rental assistance (ERA) funds. The initial reallocation, set to be revealed in early December, could exceed $800 million. Officials have not specified which jurisdictions would lose and gain funds, but states with large amounts of unused ERA include rural states like Montana and North Dakota. More populous states, including New York and Texas, are expected to exhaust their ERA allocations over the coming week and months.

The Associated Press reports the Treasury Department says there is little fraud evident in state and local emergency rental assistance programs.

According to CNBC, states and localities have passed dozens of laws granting tenants additional rights over the past two years. These laws include eviction moratoriums, ERA-related eviction protections, rent control policies, and right to counsel laws. During the pandemic, seven cities and three states passed legislation guaranteeing renters facing eviction the right to legal representation.

State and Local News


Pulaski County has stated that tenants who applied for rental assistance on or before July 5 will receive aid by the end of the first week of December. According to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, the program still has about $1.11 million to be distributed to tenants. Only 150 of the 2,460 households that applied for aid in November have received funds.


Florida’s Department of Children and Families (DCF) has not confirmed whether it submitted the program improvement plan required by the Treasury Department for the state to keep its $660 million in unused funds. Florida Politics reports the most recent Treasury data show that, as of September 30, Florida’s DCF-run program had expended only 24% of the funds, or a little more than $200 million, to households. “People will need help to get on their feet and stabilize. We need to make sure they get it and get on their feet as quickly and as equitably as possible,” said NLIHC’s End Rental Arrears to Stop Evictions (ERASE) Senior Project Director Sarah Gallagher.


The Associated Press reports Georgia officials administering emergency rental assistance (ERA) submitted a program improvement plan to the Treasury Department outlining steps it will take to distribute funds more efficiently. By mid-November, Georgia had distributed less than 10% of its $550 million allocation. NLIHC’s report on ERA spending singled out Georgia and several other states for their slow disbursement of funds and large populations of renters. Tenants in Georgia report having difficulties reaching program administrators and facing onerous documentation requirements.

DeKalb County closed its rental assistance program to applicants on November 24. There were over 5,000 pending applications, all vying for the remaining $21.6 million set aside for the tenant-landlord assistance coalition.


The Hawaii Public Housing Authority received an additional $4.7 million in federal funds from the American Rescue Plan for Housing Choice Vouchers and Mainstream Vouchers for non-elderly persons with disabilities who would have lost their rental assistance due to insufficient funding. “No one should lose their home during a pandemic,” said Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI) in a press release announcing the funds.


The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development announced on December 1 the Emergency Rental Assistance Program has approved $178.1 million to assist nearly 28,000 households by the end of October. Treasury guidelines require grantees to have expended 30% of ERA1 funds by November 15. With October’s numbers, Maryland reached a 37% expenditure ratio and is on target to exceed the November 30 deadline of 40% expended. Visit Maryland’s ERA Data Dashboard.


Boston Mayor Michelle Wu will seek a stay to keep a citywide eviction moratorium in effect after a housing court judge on November 29 struck down the policy. The judge stated that the city’s public health commission had overstepped its emergency powers.


Steep increases in rent prices continue to force St. Louis tenants from their homes. Even with COVID-19-related eviction moratoriums in place, there have been more than 11,000 evictions filed in St. Louis since March 2020.


Throughout the pandemic, Home Means Nevada has partnered with the Nevada Supreme Court, court systems across the state, and the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada to administer rental assistance and mediation programs for landlords and tenants. According to the Nevada Independent, there have been over 4,700 eviction mediation cases sent to Home Means Nevada, most from Clark County, since October 2020.

New Jersey

New Jersey residents have until December 15 to apply to the state’s rental assistance program. Jersey City closed its application last month, and Newark’s rental aid program will remain open through January 7. New Jersey’s eviction moratorium ended for higher earners on August 31, and it will end for lower-income renters who earn less than 80% of the area median income on December 31.

New York

Spectrum News reports the Community Housing Improvement Program, an organization that represents 4,000 housing operators in New York, says Governor Kathy Hochul and state lawmakers should allocate at least $2 billion for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program to help the thousands of renters who remain behind on rent. The push for additional assistance comes after a survey found at least 100,000 tenants have significant rental arrears and have not received any assistance.


Advocates for Basic Legal Equality (ABLE), a Toledo law firm that provides legal aid for low-income individuals, is receiving a $1 million grant as part of HUD’s new Eviction Protection Grant Program. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) says ABLE will partner with Legal Aid of Western Ohio (LAWO) to expand an eviction prevention program into rural areas of seven surrounding counties.


Governor Kate Brown announced on November 30 the Oregon Legislature will meet in an emergency session on December 13 to consider eviction protections for renters. According to Oregon Housing and Community Services, about 13,000 renters are at imminent risk of eviction because they are beyond the “safe harbor” period that covers people who applied for help but have not received it due to processing backlogs. Learn about Governor Brown’s proposed framework to prevent evictions here.

About 1,200 applicants of the more than 23,000 households approved for the Oregon Emergency Rental Assistance Program have not received their funds yet due to a processing backlog. Tens of thousands of additional renters have completed their applications but are still awaiting final approval. Oregon is pausing the program for at least six weeks starting December 1 to work through the backlog.


Department of Housing and Urban Development

Department of Treasury

Treasury ERA: Eviction Maturity Model Prototype – Updated November 5, 2021