The Washington Post reports that as concerns grow about a national eviction crisis later this summer and fall, the White House will hold a second eviction prevention meeting on July 21 with local officials across the country to identify ways to ramp up the distribution of emergency rental assistance (ERA) and keep tenants housed.
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)
The CFPB developed a Housing Insecurity Media Toolkit to spread important information about CFPB tools and resources related to housing insecurity during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
HUD is holding a two-day CARES Act Virtual Conference 2021 on July 27-28, 2021. The conference will address CDBG-CV, HOPWA-CV, and ESG-CV inspired topics related to the implementation of their respective CARES Act funding. Register at: https://hudcaresact.org/register/
U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH)
The USICH on July 12 held its first meeting under newly-elected leadership to discuss the Biden administration’s vision for the Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness, strategies to maximize the impact of the American Rescue Plan, and the economic and moral obligation to prevent evictions. The meeting was led by the new chair, Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Marcia Fudge, and vice chair, Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Denis McDonough.
Advocacy & Research
Leaders of the Framework for an Equitable COVID-19 Homelessness Response, including NLIHC, sent a letter to community leaders urging them to prioritize people and families experiencing chronic or unsheltered homelessness when making decisions about who will receive emergency housing vouchers (EHVs).
The Housing Initiative at Penn released a new research brief analyzing the California COVID-19 Rental Relief Program, which is the largest program in the country and aims to provide $1.12 billion in assistance.
NLIHC President and CEO Diane Yentel joined Good Morning America on July 10 to discuss how complicated application processes and burdensome documentation requirements put in place by state and local emergency rental assistance programs are slowing down the distribution of these critical resources.
NBC News reports that with the federal eviction moratorium set to expire on July 31, millions remain behind on rent. Governors and mayors are putting in place a patchwork of protections for tenants when the federal eviction moratorium ends. “The good news is that there are sufficient resources to assist tenants in paying the arrears that they owe and, in some cases, even helping them with future rent payments,” said NLIHC President and CEO Diane Yentel. “The problem is that the money is not reaching those tenants in time."
The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals on July 14 dealt another blow to landlords seeking to end the federal eviction moratorium by affirming the district court’s decision in Brown v. the Secretary of Health and Human Services to deny the landlords’ request for a preliminary injunction and uphold the CDC eviction moratorium. In the 2-1 opinion, the majority found that the challengers had failed to show that the landlords were likely to suffer an irreparable injury if the eviction moratorium was left in place.
NPR’s All Things Considered reports on efforts to accelerate distribution of federal emergency rental assistance and head off eviction cases before they get to court. At a White House Eviction Prevention Summit on June 30, officials warned that the country is in a race with time. “We are asking our state and local governments to do everything they can to fill that void in a hurry,” said White House Senior Advisor Gene Sperling. “Some are ramping up admirably. Some are lagging. But we all have to do better.”
Marketplace examines the role legal aid can play in preventing mass evictions. While most landlords have legal representation in housing court, tenants rarely do. Philadelphia is one of several cities and states that recently passed right-to-counsel legislation.
State and Local News
Since the pandemic began in March 2020, there have been nearly 44,000 eviction filings in Maricopa County. Despite the federal eviction moratorium, nearly 18,000 evictions have been filed in the county this year.
An article in the Arizona Republic outlines three actions metro Phoenix can take to prevent a surge of evictions after the CDC moratorium ends: quickly distribute federal emergency rental assistance, require landlords to participate in mediation before filing evictions, and provide free legal aid for tenants facing eviction.
Thousands of Arkansans will be at risk of eviction when the federal eviction moratorium expires at the end of July. The City of Hot Springs has been distributing emergency rental assistance, but it is expected to run out of aid in several days. The Arkansas Department of Human Services still has rental assistance available.
The Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County is concerned that an avalanche of evictions may occur when the federal eviction moratorium expires on July 31. Palm Beach County has spent about $12 million of the $45.2 million it has received in federal emergency rental assistance.
Thousands of Tampa Bay residents have been evicted during the pandemic, and thousands more will be facing eviction when the federal eviction moratorium expires. ABC Action News found that 3,327 writs of possession were issued in Pinellas County in 2020, and 1,330 have been issued so far in 2021.
The Shreveport Times outlines local rental assistance resources for tenants struggling to pay rent.
ABC5 reports that the next phase of Minnesota’s eviction moratorium “off-ramp” could bring more evictions. HOME Line, an organization that provides free legal aid to about 15,000 households across Minnesota each year, notes that the off-ramp is complicated and confusing for both landlords and tenants. The organization is urging renters to apply for aid through RentHelpMN, which has provided 2,800 payments totaling $14 million as of July 8.
An op-ed in the Star Ledger urges Congress to support an expansion of the Housing Choice Voucher program to ensure all eligible households receive rental assistance. The federal government has enacted many measures to provide short-term housing relief, but the need for permanent reform is greater than ever. About 60,000 evictions are pending across New Jersey, with many more waiting to be filed after the eviction moratorium ends.
The New York Times reports that the city’s plan to move 8,000 people who have been staying in hotels during the pandemic back to congregate shelters was disrupted on July 13 when a federal judge ruled that officials were not adequately considering the health of those being moved. The ruling comes after the Legal Aid Society filed a motion accusing the city of violating the rights of people with disabilities.
The city aimed to move approximately 8,000 people to barracks-style congregate shelters by the end of July, where state rules allow beds to be placed just three feet apart. A city spokesman said officials would make “minor adjustments” to the process and resume moving individuals next week.
NLIHC sent a letter to FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell on July 1 urging FEMA to release guidance immediately on FEMA reimbursement for non-congregate shelter and to extend the 100% reimbursement policy through June 2022. The letter states that while some cities have begun to end non-congregate sheltering programs, COVID-19 continues to pose a grave danger to individuals residing in congregate living environments, including people experiencing homelessness and people with disabilities. NLIHC’s letter echoes previous requests by California Governor Gavin Newsom, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, El Centro Mayor Cheryl Viegas-Walker, and Sonoma County Supervisor James Gore, who sent a similar letter to FEMA last month.
While Oregon is working to distribute $204 million in federal rental assistance through its new statewide program, the backlog of applications could have devastating consequences for tenants. Since applications opened May 19, more than 15,000 households have requested nearly $90 million in aid through the Oregon Emergency Rental Assistance Program. Only about $700,000 had been distributed to 113 households as of July 7.
Multnomah County renters are now protected from eviction for 90 days if they provide proof to their landlord that they have applied for rental assistance. The Multnomah County Board of Commissioners on July 8 unanimously approved an ordinance extending the eviction protection period granted by Oregon Senate Bill 278.
The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services recently notified the state judiciary about the various federal and state grants available to individuals who need rental assistance to remain in their homes. “I am writing to you today to respectfully seek the judicial branch’s assistance to help educate both landlords and tenants about emergency rental assistance programs as we look to move forward from the COVID-19 pandemic,” wrote Acting Human Services Secretary Meg Snead in a letter to the court administrator of the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts.
Texas Housers released a report evaluating the effectiveness of the Emergency Rental Assistance Program in Texas. The report finds there is significant room for improvement in ERA rollout in Texas.
Hundreds of renters living in public housing in Richmond could be at risk of eviction when the CDC moratorium expires. Almost 700 households out of the approximately 3,700 rental units that the Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority (RRHA) manages are behind on rent. RRHA plans to resume eviction efforts in August.
Attorneys with the Legal Aid Justice Center say that thousands, if not millions, of families across Virginia may face eviction when the CDC eviction moratorium expires at the end of July. Millions of dollars in rental assistance are available, and advocates are urging landlords to work with tenants as programs work to distribute these funds.
The D.C. City Council is considering revising its eviction ban given the understanding that Mayor Muriel Bowser will not extend the public health emergency to which dozens of protections are tied. The Council is considering emergency legislation that would delay evictions for nonpayment of rent to provide time for D.C.’s rental assistance program, STAY DC, to distribute funds. Tenants have been struggling to access STAY DC due to its complicated application process and inaccessibility to non-English speakers.
Research conducted by Marquette University Law School’s Lubar Center for Public Policy and Civic Education offers new insight into housing instability and eviction in Milwaukee.
Department of Housing and Urban Development
- COVID-19 Homeless System Response: Emergency Housing Vouchers (EHVs) in Homeless Management Information Systems – July 2021
- COVID-19 Homeless System Response: Shared Housing – July 2021