Additional Coronavirus Updates – February 8, 2021

Updated NLIHC Resources

National Updates  

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky on January 29 issued an order extending the federal eviction moratorium through March 31, 2021.

Department of Agriculture

In accordance with CDC guidance, the USDA announced an extension of eviction protections for the tens of thousands of individuals in USDA-supported multifamily housing communities.

Department of Housing and Urban Development

HUD announced on January 29 it has awarded $2.5 billion to renew support to thousands of homeless assistance programs across the nation.  HUD’s Continuum of Care (CoC) grants will provide critically needed support to 6,597 community-based housing and service providers. Due to the pandemic, the process was significantly streamlined.

HUD issued a message on COVID-19 Vaccination (Updated January 29) following the Biden Administration’s release of the National Strategy for the COVID-19 Response and Pandemic Preparedness. The National Strategy identifies homeless shelters as an example of a congregate setting that could facilitate the spread of infection, also emphasizing that “[b]ecause many people who are homeless are older adults or have underlying medical conditions, they may also be at increased risk for severe illness.” The strategy affirms that the U.S. will “work to ensure that the vaccine is distributed quickly, effectively, and equitably, with a focus on making sure that high-risk and hard-to-reach communities are not left behind.”


NLIHC President and CEO Diane Yentel spoke with the White House and FEMA on February 3 to confirm their intention to implement President Biden’s executive order by directing FEMA not only to cover the full costs of moving individuals experiencing homelessness into hotels and motels, but also to apply full funding retroactively. For more details, see FEMA’s statement released today clarifying President Biden’s directive.

FEMA on January 29 announced a six month extension of its “Emergency Non-Congregate Sheltering during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency” (interim) policy through June 30.


Housing advocates are concerned that President Biden’s extension of the federal eviction moratorium does not address the moratorium’s significant shortcomings. In addition to strengthening and enforcing the moratorium, additional funding for rental assistance is urgently needed. “Eviction moratoriums postpone housing instability, but they don’t prevent evictions – because the rent is still due,” NLIHC President and CEO Diane Yentel told NBC News.

USA Today explains why millions of Americans may face eviction despite President Biden’s executive order extending the federal eviction moratorium through March 31. Because the moratorium’s protections are not automatic, marginalized renters – such as seniors, immigrants, and the lowest-income renters – are at greater risk for eviction. “They are often the ones that are most in need of the protections but the least aware of the actions they need to take to receive it,” says NLIHC President and CEO Diane Yentel.

Peter Hepburn of the Eviction Lab outlines how the formula that the Treasury Department used to allocate emergency rental assistance funds will lead to significant inequities. The formula, which was used to distribute money in the Coronavirus Relief Fund, does not make sense in the context of rental assistance.

An op-ed in the New York Times discusses how the lack of reliable, consistent data on eviction across the U.S. leaves the Biden administration and state and local governments with limited ways to track and assist communities most at risk of eviction and homelessness. The authors urge the government to create a federal eviction database, which the bipartisan “Eviction Crisis Act” would establish.

Jim Parrott and Mark Zandi published an op-ed in CNN Business discussing the country’s looming eviction crisis and how President Biden’s stimulus plan could protect millions of struggling renters. The authors urge policymakers to ensure states and localities can efficiently and effectively distribute the $25 billion in emergency rental assistance and pass President Biden’s proposed $35 billion for rental assistance.

The Los Angeles Times reports that millions of renters are facing a snowballing financial burden that threatens to deplete their savings, harm their credit, and force them from their homes. It could take renters, especially those with the lowest-incomes, years to recover. “We are setting up millions of people for long-term harm and a cycle of economic and housing instability,” said Emily Benfer, chair of the American Bar Association’s COVID-19 Task Force Committee on eviction.

An op-ed in Newsweek by John Pollock and Emily Benfer discusses how the federal eviction moratorium’s shortcomings, logistical challenges with distributing rent relief, and the inadequacy of $20 million to address tenant representation nationwide means a tsunami of evictions will continue to threaten the U.S. Local, state, and federal governments and the courts must take action to prevent the looming eviction crisis.

State and Local News


Despite the federal eviction moratorium, some Pima County landlords continue to evict tenants by using a loophole concerning technicalities in contracts. Evictions due to “material breach of contract” have been spiking since the CDC moratorium went into effect. The Pima County Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 to expand protections for renters by closing this loophole.


Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti instructed his team and the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority to move hundreds of individuals experiencing homelessness into empty hotel and motel rooms. The announcement follows President Biden’s executive order directing FEMA to reimburse 100% of the costs of non-congregate sheltering.

San Francisco city officials who championed Project Roomkey see President Biden’s executive order directing FEMA to provide 100% reimbursement for non-congregate sheltering as an opportunity not only to keep the hotel program going, but to expand it. “Now we can open more spots for people experiencing homelessness to stay safe during the rest of this pandemic,” Supervisor Hillary Ronen, a proponent of the hotels, tweeted on Thursday following the announcement. “Can’t wait to work with Federal & State leaders on permanent fixes to homelessness.”

NBC Bay Area reports that Oakland landlords have sent hundreds of eviction notices to tenants during the pandemic, despite the federal moratorium and the city’s eviction moratorium.

The Fresno Bee reports that despite the federal and state eviction moratoriums, some California renters continue to be forced from their homes. Central Valley Legal Services has 200 open eviction cases in the San Joaquin Valley, which represents only a fraction of the people losing their housing.


Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry announced a new initiative called Pathway to Home to help individuals experiencing homelessness. The program will offer hotel rooms and additional services to help individuals find permanent housing solutions. The city’s hotel program, which predates the Pathway to Home initiative, is currently serving 227 individuals. The announcement follows reports that the city may evict residents of a downtown Jacksonville encampment.

Federal CARES Act funds and other dollars will be used to move Jacksonville residents experiencing homelessness into hotels and then into permanent housing within 30 days through the city’s Pathway to Home initiative.

Florida Weekly discusses the pandemic’s impact on homelessness in Collier County, noting local efforts to support individuals who are homeless, housing insecurity, and food insecurity.


WABE discovered that several Georgia judges are refusing to acknowledge the CDC eviction moratorium in court.


The Kentucky Equal Justice Center filed a lawsuit in federal court on February 1 challenging the Jefferson County District Court’s failure to notify Kentuckians facing eviction of the location of their Zoom eviction hearings.


Scott Poyer, clerk of the Anne Arundel County Circuit Court, which has 500 evictions pending,  urges state legislators to take action to prevent a wave of evictions and foreclosures. He recommends legislators pass the “2021 Housing Justice Package.” The package includes relief for tenants and homeowners, reforms to the current eviction system, and financial relief for landlords.

According to the Public Justice Center (PJC), over 2,500 families were legally evicted in Maryland during the pandemic. PJC and other advocates testified before the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee on January 28 in support of SB154, which would create the right to an attorney in eviction cases for Maryland renters.


The Michigan Coalition Against Homelessness is calling on the state legislature to disburse the $600 million in rental and utility assistance from the Consolidated Appropriations Act, stating: “Each day that passes without these funds being appropriated by our state Legislature not only puts renters and landlords at risk of evictions but also threatens Michigan’s ability to spend out the federally allocated dollars before they are lost to recapture.”


The Clark County Commission is considering the possibility of establishing a right to counsel for all tenants facing eviction. While the commission has taken no formal action, Commissioner Tick Segerblom called attention to the nationwide right to counsel movement and stated his interest in potentially establishing guaranteed counsel in the Las Vegas area.

New Jersey

New Jersey advocates are urging lawmakers to pass “The People’s Bill” (S2340/A4034) to prevent a tsunami of evictions when Governor Phil Murphy’s eviction moratorium is lifted. The legislation, designed to prevent mass evictions, was passed by the Assembly in July 2020, then amended and sent back to the Senate where it has remained since November.

New York

A coalition of New York City housing and homeless advocates, joined by the city’s top real estate group, is calling on the city and state to expand and improve three rental assistance programs to help struggling households at risk for eviction.

PUSH Buffalo, a member of the Housing Justice for All coalition, is going door-to-door to educate renters on the tenant hardship declaration that must be filed by February 25 to be protected from eviction.


Lucas Metropolitan Housing (LMH) on January 28 extended its eviction moratorium through April 30. The moratorium applies to all LMH tenants, regardless of whether the pandemic has impacted their tenants. LMH manages 2,633 public housing units, most of them in Toledo and largely rented to low-income Black women with children.


Home Forward, Oregon’s largest provider of affordable housing, has earned a reputation as being tolerant with the low-income tenants it serves in the properties it manages directly. Income Property Management, the company with which Home Forward contracts for much of its housing stock, has filed to evict nearly three times as many households from Home Forward-owned properties than has Home Forward itself.

The Bend City Council voted to enter a purchase and sale agreement with the intention of transforming the Old Mill Inn & Suites Motel into a homeless shelter. Project Turnkey would provide the funds to purchase the hotel.


Harrisburg Mayor Eric Papenfuse issued an executive order to ban all evictions and fine landlords up to $10,000 who attempt to evict tenants. Mayor Papenfuse puts these additional protections in place to address loopholes in the CDC eviction moratorium.


The Texas Tribune reports that a statewide $1.3 billion rental assistance program that could help tenants with up to 15 months of rent will launch in two weeks. According to the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA), the program should serve around 80,000 households. TDHCA will provide updates on applying for assistance through their website and mailing list.

The Austin City Council voted on January 27 to purchase one hotel and convert it into 60 units of permanent supportive housing for individuals experiencing homelessness. The city will use funds diverted from its police budget to provide wraparound services for individuals who will reside at the hotel. Austin city residents protested outside of the Candlewood Suites hotel, which the city will purchase to provide temporary housing for individuals who are homeless.


The Seattle Times reports that Washington lawmakers are seeking to end the eviction moratorium, while preventing a tsunami of evictions once it is lifted. The lawmakers are split on how to do so. While some have proposed a package of bills that could assist struggling renters, others are seeking to permanently alter the power dynamic between tenants and landlords.

Police in Olympia arrested seven individuals and removed dozens of homeless activists who were occupying a downtown hotel to secure housing for individuals experiencing homelessness. The group, Oly Housing Now, called on the Thurston County Health Department to apply for FEMA reimbursement for non-congregate sheltering.


Milwaukee-area shelters and food pantries experienced a significant demand for need in 2020. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel explores how these organizations have stepped up to meet the growing need for aid.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Temporary Halt in Residential Evictions to Prevent the Further Spread of COVID-19 – January 29, 2021

Department of Agriculture

Actions Taken by USDA Rural Development to Help Rural Residents, Businesses, and Communities Impacted by the COVID-19 Pandemic – Updated January 29, 2021

Department of Housing and Urban Development

New Resources for DCTA Recipients and Smaller Distressed Communities – Updated January 29, 2021

COVID-19 Vaccination: HUD Message – Updated January 28, 2021

Weekly COVID-19 Vaccine Update for Homeless Service Providers – January 29, 2021