Department of Agriculture (USDA)
The USDA on August 25 announced additional steps it will take to support its tenants and owners. The USDA will offer additional support to property owners waiting to receive ERA funds by: allowing them to access reserves for operating shortfalls, providing financial incentives to property managers that use ERA to clear arrearages; and providing increased support from USDA field staff to spread awareness of ERA to local leaders and public housing authorities.
The Associated Press reports that according to the Treasury Department, states and localities have only distributed 11% of the tens of billions of dollars in federal emergency rental assistance (ERA).“Nearly 1 million households assisted is meaningful progress, but the overall rate of spending emergency rental assistance remains much too slow,” said NLIHC President and CEO Diane Yentel. With the Supreme Court considering a challenge to the new CDC eviction moratorium, there is a concern that a surge of evictions will happen before much of the rent relief has been distributed.
The New York Times reports on recently released data on Treasury’s Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) program showing about 89% of ERA funds have not been distributed. State and local governments distributed just $1.7 billion in rent relief in July as the Biden administration braces for a Supreme Court decision that could strike down the eviction moratorium.
CBS News reports on the emergency rental assistance (ERA) data and revised guidance released by the Treasury Department on August 25. The article notes that according to the latest Census Bureau data from early August, more than 7.9 million households are behind on rent.
The Associated Press, Politico, and CNN report on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia’s ruling denying the Alabama Association of Realtors’ request to overturn the CDC eviction moratorium.
Reuters, Washington Post, and USA Today report the Biden administration is urging the Supreme Court to leave in place the new eviction moratorium issued by the CDC eviction moratorium on August 3. The Alabama Association of Realtors filed an emergency petition with the Supreme Court on August 20, just hours after the federal appeals court upheld U.S. District Judge Dabney Friedrich’s decision to keep the moratorium in place. This marks the second time the realtors have brought the dispute to the Supreme Court.
“The emergency rental assistance that Congress provided should be enough to cover all the rent and utility arrears that tenants accrued during the pandemic,” NLIHC’s Diane Yentel told Yahoo Finance. “But the money is getting out much too slowly.”
State and Local News
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld Los Angeles’ eviction moratorium, stating “the city fairly ties the moratorium to its stated goal of preventing displacement from homes, which the city reasonably explains can exacerbate the public health-related problems stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic.” The Apartment Association of Los Angeles County urged the federal appeals court to block the city’s eviction moratorium.
Illinois Governor JB Pritzker quietly extended the statewide eviction moratorium through September 18. The extended moratorium applies to all Illinois counties, even those reporting low COVID-19 transmission rates.
The Herald-Times reports that after the U.S. Department of Justice and National Center for State Courts urged states and localities to develop eviction prevention programs. Monroe County Circuit Judge Catherine Stafford, along with other officials and advocates, created the county’s eviction diversion program. The Monroe Circuit Court is requiring landlords to complete an eviction diversion affidavit and send it to the tenant at least 20 days before filing for eviction. If the tenant agrees to move forward with the program, the landlord can select either of two free mediation programs: Community Justice and Mediation Center or the Indiana Landlord and Tenant Settlement Conference Program.
Despite the new CDC eviction moratorium, eviction filings in St. Joseph County are rising to near pre-pandemic levels. The county’s housing issues were not created by the COVID-19 pandemic but stem from a pre-existing shortage of affordable housing.
Las Vegas launched on August 23, a new hotline and emergency rental assistance (ERA) program. The new hotline will support city residents facing eviction or who wish to apply for the Rental Assistance for Tenants (RAFT) program. Residents can call (702) 229-5935 for assistance.
Despite federal, state, and local eviction moratoriums, thousands of New Mexico residents have faced eviction since the beginning of the pandemic. New Mexico takes little action to track evictions and ensure landlords are complying with the law. Due to the lack of documentation required by the state’s courts, illegal evictions are nearly impossible to verify.
According to data from the Oklahoma Policy Institute, 73% more evictions were filed in Tulsa in early August compared to early July, and more than double the number of evictions filed from early June. Legal aid attorneys are seeing a dramatic rise in Tulsa landlords using loopholes, such as lease terminations or alleged lease violations, to evict tenants.
Governor Kate Brown announced Monday that she had extended Oregon’s residential foreclosure moratorium until December 31.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
- HUD Eviction Prevention Resources Page
- COVID-19 Emergency Housing Voucher (EHV) Referral Packet Template: Example Forms for EHV Program – August 2021
- COVID-19 Homeless System Response: Engaging Individuals with Lived Expertise – August 2021
- ESG-CV Notice CPD-21-08 Webinar Materials
Department of Treasury
- Treasury Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) Program: Frequently Asked Questions – Revised August 25, 2021
- FEMA COVID-19 Funeral Assistance State-by-State Breakdown – August 23, 2021