Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH), chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, requested a briefing from Pretium Partners, LLC about reports that the private equity firm has attempted to evict more than 1,000 tenants for nonpayment of rent, despite the federal eviction moratorium. Senator Brown expressed concern that the company has reportedly filed eviction notices at higher rates in majority-Black counties. A copy of the letter is available here.
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)
The CFPB provides answers to common questions about the federal Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) program on its webpage, “Federal Help with Paying Your Rent.”
Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge on June 10 announced the first tranche of American Rescue Plan funds for Emergency Housing Vouchers (EHVs). HUD awarded $1.1 billion, or 70,000 vouchers, for 626 public housing authorities administering the Housing Choice Voucher Program.
Department of Treasury
The Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on June 14 unveiled an online non-filer sign-up tool for eligible families who do not normally file tax returns register for the monthly Advance Child Tax Credit payments. This tool, an update of last year's IRS non-filers tool, is also designed to help eligible individuals who don't normally file income tax returns register for the $1,400 third round of Economic Impact Payments (i.e., stimulus checks) and claim the Recovery Rebate Credit for any amount of the first two rounds of Economic Impact Payments they may have missed. Learn more about the Child Tax Credit.
U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness
Anthony Love, interim executive director of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH), testified before Congress on June 16 in a virtual hearing before the House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity titled “Veteran Homelessness in the Wake of COVID-19.” Love stated, “The American Rescue Plan presents a massive opportunity to not only help people survive this pandemic but to secure long-term housing if they currently lack it. Our job is to ensure that opportunity is not missed.” Read the full testimony here.
Advocacy & Research
The Eviction Lab reports a pattern of higher eviction filing rates in neighborhoods with lower vaccination rates in every jurisdiction for which the researchers were able to access data. The findings suggest that those most at risk for eviction are still at high risk of contracting and passing the virus.
The National Coalition for a Civil Right to Counsel tracks states and localities using coronavirus relief funds to expand tenant access to legal aid. Access the database here.
The National Housing Law Project has a new FAQ and Advocacy Tip Sheet for Emergency Housing Vouchers (EHVs).
The Associated Press reports that more than 4 million people fear being evicted or foreclosed upon in the coming months. Two studies released on June 16 find that the nation’s housing availability and affordability crisis is expected to worsen significantly following the pandemic. “The latest data confirm two things – emergency rental assistance is very slow to reach renters in need, and millions of renters remain behind on rent and at heightened risk of evictions,” says NLIHC President and CEO Diane Yentel. “President Biden must extend the eviction moratorium to give more time for rental assistance to reach renters and landlords and to avoid a historic wave of evictions this summer and fall.” Among those renters fearing the expiration of the federal eviction moratorium on June 30 is Victor Richardson, a 78-year-old individual with a disability who uses a wheelchair. Richardson is facing eviction from his assisted living center in Tucson, Arizona, and has a court hearing early next month.
As state and local governments distribute emergency rental assistance to tenants in need, NPR reports that millions could face eviction when the federal eviction moratorium expires on June 30. “It is a race against the clock at this point to get the money to the tenants who need it to avoid eviction,” says NLIHC’s Diane Yentel. While some programs are struggling to distribute aid, other programs appear to be more efficient and effective. A Houston landlord who owns or manages 1,800 rental units says her local ERA program is working well and that the federal funding has helped her residents stay housed.
CNBC reports a growing number of states and localities will continue to ban evictions after the federal eviction moratorium expires on June 30. Moreover, renters who have applied for federal emergency rental assistance (ERA) have additional rights. In at least 28 states, programs that provide federal ERA bar landlords from evicting tenants for at least the period they received assistance for, and in some cases for between 30 and 90 days afterward, according to Andrew Aurand, NLIHC vice president for research.
“We’ve avoided some of the worst outcomes so far, but the crisis is not over,” NLIHC’s Diane Yentel told the New York Times. “If the Biden administration allows the federal eviction moratorium to expire before states and localities can distribute aid to households in need, millions of households would be at immediate risk of housing instability and, in worst cases, homelessness.”
Common Dreams reports that attorneys general in nearly two dozen states submitted an amicus brief urging the Supreme Court to uphold the CDC eviction moratorium. The article cites NLIHC President and CEO Diane Yentel’s tweets highlighting how little emergency rental assistance states have distributed to tenants with less than three weeks remaining before the national eviction moratorium is set to expire.
KTNV reports on housing advocates’ concerns that the nearly $50 billion in federal emergency rental assistance may not reach renters before the federal eviction moratorium expires at the end of June. “That's about 15 million people who are at heightened risk of losing their homes when the eviction moratorium expires and that's almost twice as many families that lost their homes during the foreclosure crisis,” says NLIHC’s Diane Yentel. Watch the video clip here.
With the eviction moratorium expiring on June 30, CNBC reports that many states have given out less than 5% of federal rental assistance. NLIHC’s Andrew Aurand says that despite guidance from the Treasury Department discouraging burdensome documentation and allowing self-certification, just half of the 400 programs allow self-attestation and make that option clear to applicants. “These documentation requirements are a barrier to the same renters who likely have the greatest need for this assistance,” says Andrew Aurand.
The Intercept reports that many states and localities make tenants jump through hoops to access federal emergency rental assistance (ERA). Despite revised guidance from Treasury discouraging burdensome documentation, NLIHC Research Analyst Rebecca Yae says ERA programs are establishing onerous documentation requirements that slow down the distribution of these critical resources.
NPR reports that Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH), chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, is seeking answers from a corporate landlord after a report by the Private Equity Stakeholder Project found the firm has been filing for evictions much more over in predominantly Black neighborhoods during the pandemic.
Route Fifty reports attorneys general from 22 states and the District of Columbia asked the Supreme Court not to end the federal eviction moratorium, warning that its expiration would unleash an unprecedented and “catastrophic” wave of evictions.
The Washington Post reports Airbnb announced a new policy on June 15 to prevent landlords from using its platform to rent a property that becomes available after evictions. Airbnb says it is partnering with cities to identify spaces where people have been evicted. The policy preventing listings of such properties will last through at least 2021.
State and Local News
KQED reports that thousands of California renters and landlords are awaiting aid from the state’s slow-moving rental assistance program. Only a little more than 2% of people who have applied to California’s rental assistance program have received aid.
The Delaware State Housing Authority is working with a group of community partners who can help tenants submit applications for the Delaware Housing Assistance Program. A list of partners is available on the Application Assistance page.
Residents of the Paradise Park Mobile Home Park in Miami received a six-month notice of eviction last November, just days after the trailer park was bought by developers for $15 million, and about one month before one of South Florida’s worst COVID-19 outbreak. As of May 31, Paradise Park residents were still awaiting information from the landowners on whether the evictions would proceed as planned.
The Wichita Eagle reports that despite state and federal eviction moratoriums, community aid and tenant advocacy groups say formal and informal displacements have continued in Kansas throughout the pandemic. Vince Munoz, an organizer for Rent Zero Kansas, said the eviction process was never completely halted by state or federal protections, leaving tenants in a constant state of uncertainty during the public health crisis and economic fallout.
A Lexington program to support people in applying for emergency rental assistance has helped approximately 500 households avoid eviction at the cost of $3.2 million. The Catholic Action Center and the Central KY Housing and Homeless Initiative set up a team of connectors at the Mother Teresa Center to help people navigate the application and avoid eviction.
The Washington Post reports that Governor Larry Hogan will lift Maryland’s state of emergency on July 1. That date will mark the beginning of a “45-day grace period,” in which some pandemic-era changes, including the state’s eviction moratorium, will remain in place until August 15. Montgomery County officials say the 45-day period before lifting the eviction moratorium does not provide enough time for tenants to recover.
The Detroit Free Press reports that tenant advocates, concerned that the federal eviction moratorium will not be extended past June 30, are urging struggling renters to apply for the federally funded emergency rental assistance program. "It's certainly not going to be the eviction tsunami that we feared in the summer of 2020. There is a lot that has been done since that time to prevent a massive wave of evictions," says NLIHC’s Diane Yentel. "The challenge is getting that money to the lowest income and the most marginalized people who need it most before the moratorium expires. So, it’s a race against the clock at this point," she added. Evictions in Michigan are increasing again, moving toward pre-pandemic levels.
Minnesota legislators struck a deal on how to phase out Governor Tim Walz’s eviction moratorium. The agreement offers strong tenant protections and clear timelines for landlords to secure emergency rental assistance. Under the agreement, Walz’s moratorium order would be replaced by an “off-ramp” that will conclude 105 days after the bill becomes law. It will require landlords to send a notice to renters with overdue rent 15 days before an eviction. Renters who have claimed but have not yet received state rental assistance will be protected from eviction until June 1, 2022.
A group of Minnesota landlords sued Governor Tim Walz in federal court, alleging the state’s eviction moratorium violates the constitutional rights of renters and landlords. Estimates from a California-based nonprofit show 62,000 households in Minnesota are behind on payments with $207 million in total rent debt.
An article in the Nevada Independent reports that amid cheers for recovery, rental assistance delays and eviction threats are impacting thousands of Nevadans.
As New York City moves to end its emergency hotel program, some hotel residents are decrying the city’s decision to force them back into the congregate shelter system. The city has moved approximately 10,000 individuals from shelters and into hotel rooms during the pandemic. Homeless advocates say that evicting the hotel residents too quickly will only increase homelessness. NLIHC’s Diane Yentel tweeted that FEMA is providing 100% reimbursement for eligible non-congregate sheltering costs through September. Additionally, HUD recently allocated $5 billion in emergency housing vouchers for people who are homeless.
The Philadelphia Inquirer reports the largest landlord association in Philadelphia is partnering with a housing and social services nonprofit to connect tenants with emergency rental assistance and prevent evictions. Hapco Philadelphia landlords will refer tenants who are struggling with rent payments to the Philadelphia Interfaith Hospitality Network before filing for eviction.
Go Erie reminds struggling tenants and landlords that help is still available through Pennsylvania’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program. According to the U.S. Census Bureau Household Pulse Survey, 467,000 Pennsylvanians say they will be unable to make their next rent payment. “This is our opportunity to invest in our long-term economic recovery, rally around each other, and help prevent a wave of evictions and homelessness that will create yet another public health crisis that could persist beyond this crisis,” said Meg Snead, acting secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services, in a statement.
The Brattleboro Reformer reports that Vermont is transitioning away from the motel housing program it operated as part of the state’s response to housing insecurity during the pandemic. About 2,295 people are living in 1,631 hotel and motel rooms across Vermont, but that number will continue to decrease due to changes to the General Assistance Housing Program. According to the Vermont Agency of Human Services, about two-thirds of households in the program will continue to be eligible 84 days after June 1 when new criteria for the program was implemented.
The VT Digger reports Governor Phil Scott’s decision to lift the state’s emergency COVID-19 order brings potential new limits on federal funding for social service programs and triggers the expiration of Vermont’s eviction moratorium 30 days later in mid-July.
Governor Ralph Northam will allow his emergency declaration to expire at the end of June. The decision will impact several eviction protections enacted during the pandemic. Tenants facing evictions can get their cases extended for 60 days if they can prove they did not pay rent because of the pandemic. This protection will expire 90 days after the end of the emergency order. The requirement that a landlord includes in the eviction notice information about available rent relief and helps renters apply for it will expire when the state of emergency ends on June 30.