Department of Housing and Urban Development
The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) on August 27 extended its foreclosure and eviction moratorium through December 31, 2020 for homeowners with FHA-insured single family mortgages covered under the CARES Act. While this action does provide foreclosure relief to some homeowners, it does not protect a single renter from eviction.
Federal Housing Finance Agency
The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) on August 27 announced that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will extend the moratorium on single-family foreclosures and real estate owned evictions until at least December 31, 2020. NLIHC notes that this action stops evictions for only a very small share of renters.
FHFA announced on August 26 that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will extend buying loans in forbearance and COVID-related loan processing flexibilities until September 30. The flexibilities were set to expire on August 31.
The NLIHC-led Disaster Housing Recovery Coalition will continue to advocate an array of resources and protections, including emergency rental assistance and eviction prevention assistance, a national moratorium on evictions and foreclosures, and emergency funds for homelessness service providers, housing authorities, and housing providers, among other recommendations. For more information, see DHRC’s full list of recommendations.
NLIHC and the National Housing Law Project sent letters on August 21 to HUD, the Treasury Department, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), urging the agencies to use their existing authority to prevent evictions among renters living in federally assisted properties.
The Washington Post reports that President Trump’s attempts to bypass Congress on stimulus relief have produced limited economic relief and prevented very few evictions. “If Congress does nothing, we are very likely to see millions of renters face displacement of eviction, starting in September and October,” said NLIHC President and CEO Diane Yentel.
The Washington Post reports on data indicating that millions of people across the country are behind on their rent. “When our collective health depends on our ability to stay in our homes, we all have a stake to ensure that tens of millions of people don’t lose theirs,” said NLIHC’s Diane Yentel.
Bloomberg reports on the historic eviction crisis facing the U.S., explaining that formal evictions are not the only threat facing renters. Eviction is a legal process, but the mere threat of eviction often pushes renters to move out.
The New York Times reports that legal aid lawyers are preparing to defend renters in housing courts. For tenants, especially those with low incomes, having legal representation can be the difference between being evicted or being allowed to remain in their home.
Despite being one of the populations at greatest risk of contracting and becoming severely ill from the coronavirus, people experiencing homelessness have been largely “invisible victims of the crisis.” The Howard Center for Investigative Journalism developed a vulnerability index to understand which counties’ homeless populations might struggle the most in a COVID-19 outbreak.
The Howard Center for Investigative Journalism found that, as of early August, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development had distributed less than one-third of the $4 billion provided by the CARES Act.
HuffPost discusses how Cincinnati’s new law requiring landlords to accept alternatives to a security deposit could help renters survive the pandemic-triggered eviction crisis. NLIHC’s Diane Yentel says that alternatives to security deposits provide much-needed assistance to get families into homes, but there is an urgent need to address the underlying causes of the affordable housing crisis in the U.S.
The Guardian reports on the U.S.’ looming eviction crisis, discussing the joint report released by NLIHC and nine other institutions that found 30-40 million people in America are at risk of eviction.
NPR shares stories of people struggling to remain in their homes after the federal supplemental unemployment benefit and eviction moratorium expired. Without federal intervention, including emergency rental assistance, a uniform eviction moratorium, and expanded unemployment benefits, millions of renters in the U.S. will face eviction.
CNET explains that starting August 24, millions of renters who were protected from eviction by the CARES Act could lose their homes. The article provides resources for renters who are facing a potential eviction.
The Guardian reports that millions of Americans are struggling to afford food and pay their rent and utility bills after the federal supplemental unemployment benefits expired at the end of July.
CNN’s Kyung Lah shares stories of people facing financial stress and eviction after the federal eviction moratorium and relief benefits expired at the end of July.
Mother Jones reports that housing advocates and voting experts are concerned that the eviction crisis in the U.S. will create barriers to voting by mail. “Those who are being most impacted by the COVID crisis may end up being largely excluded from the democratic process as a result,” says Brian Miller, executive director of Nonprofit VOTE.
Diana Li, an eviction lawyer at the Legal Aid Society, spoke to Vox about the long-standing structural issues the pandemic has brought to light, the lack of respect landlords have for the moratorium, and why New York’s court system was not prepared for pandemic.
State and Local News
A list of state and local emergency rental assistance programs is available here from NLIHC.
An outbreak of coronavirus infections linked to an Anchorage homeless shelter has spiked to 61. City officials have confirmed infections in 60 people who stayed at the shelter and one staff member, but they expect the outbreak has impacted more.
Arizona evictions rules changed on August 22, making it more difficult for renters to remain in their homes if they are facing eviction due to nonpayment of rent because of the pandemic. While Governor Doug Ducey extended the eviction moratorium until October 31 in a July executive order, renters must meet additional requirements to remain in their homes.
HuffPost reports that the combination of California’s wildfires and the pandemic is putting thousands of people experiencing homelessness at risk for respiratory issues. “Our homeless residents are breathing ash right now,” one advocate said of the unhealthy air affecting unhoused people already at heightened risk for COVID-19.
The Los Angeles Times editorial board questions why state leaders have taken a “shockingly lackadaisical attitude” toward the impending eviction crisis. California’s eviction moratorium is set to expire in less than a week, and state leaders have not acted to prevent an eviction tsunami.
California’s eviction moratorium is set to expire September 1, allowing eviction cases to move forward on September 2. With as many 5.4 million California renters at risk of eviction, advocates are urging the state Senate to enact a new eviction moratorium by approving Assembly Bill 1436. In Orange County, 570 new eviction cases were filed from April 6 through July 31. At least 1,122 additional eviction cases were filed in Los Angeles County from April through June.
Santa Clara County’s Board of Supervisors voted unanimously August 25 to extend the county’s eviction moratorium through at least September 30. The extension comes weeks after a recent analysis predicted 43,490 renter households in Santa Clara County alone could lose their homes when the moratorium is lifted.
Colorado has seen a sharp acceleration in court filings for evictions: more than 1,200 removals throughout July, and nearly 300 more in the first week of August.
Governor Jared Polis announced on August 26 a new temporary task force within the Department of Local Affairs to examine housing instability due to COVID-19 in Colorado. The announcement of the Special Evictions Prevention Task Force met criticism from housing advocates who have urged Governor Polis to reinstate an eviction moratorium and ban on rental late fees. Additionally, an attorney with the COVID-19 Eviction Defense Project noted that the task force’s 10-person roster didn’t represent renters, including advocates who specialize in eviction defense.
Within hours of the Orange County eviction diversion program portal opening, more than one thousand tenants had applied for assistance.
WUSF reports that a Florida landlord informally evicted a family by cutting off water and power to the unit and removing the family’s furniture. By making living conditions so untenable for the family, the landlord effectively removed them from the unit without a formal eviction process.
According to the Tampa Bay Times, a Florida landlord that received between $2 million and $5 million emergency loan through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), has filed more evictions during the pandemic than any other company in Florida. Tzadik Management has a billion-dollar portfolio of residential complexes across the U.S., including at least 12 in Hillsborough County.
The Georgia Recorder reports that eviction hearings are rising across Georgia after the supplemental unemployment benefit expired at the end of July and the 30 days’ notice of eviction required by the CARES Act ended on August 24.
WABE reports that as federal eviction protections have expired, tenants in metro Atlanta are feeling the effects.
Despite Hawaii’s eviction moratorium, some landlords are illegally harassing tenants and forcing them out of their homes. While the extended eviction moratorium provides relief for renters, attorneys say state officials need to increase enforcement of the ban.
Catherine Pirkle, a University of Hawaii at Manoa public health professor, told NBC News that overcrowded living situations in Hawaii can lead to clusters of positive coronavirus cases. Many Hawaii households contain multiple generations and crowding is common, especially for low-income households, making social distancing impossible.
Skokie officials voted unanimously on August 17 to allocate $100,000 in Community Development Block Grant funding for rental assistance. The Evanston-based Connections for Homeless will distribute the rental assistance.
The Hoosier Housing Needs Coalition urged Governor Eric Holcomb to ensure a waitlist and additional resources were made available before closing Indiana’s COVID-19 Rental Assistance Program on August 26. More than 200,000 additional Hoosiers are expected to need emergency rental assistance than will be provided through resources available through state and local government programs. Some Indiana senators called on Governor Holcomb to extend the Indiana COVID-19 Rental Assistance Program. Indiana Senate Democratic Leader Tim Lanane says that the program could continue to be funded by the $1 billion available in the federal Coronavirus Relief Fund.
The growing number of people experiencing homelessness in Indianapolis continues to face reduced shelter capacity and closure of most public restrooms. Mayor Joe Hogsett in July announced $2.7 million in federal grant funds for homelessness prevention initiatives, but advocates are concerned that relief funds could diminish quickly given the looming eviction crisis.
The Republic reports that CARES Act funding is helping keep people stably housed in Bartholomew County.
While the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission decided against extending the state’s moratorium on utility disconnections past August 14, Columbus City Utilities is choosing not to disconnect customers’ service.
According to the Iowa Finance Authority, as of August 24, the Iowa COVID-19 Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Program had assisted 2,428 renters across the state. The Authority updates statistics weekly about the emergency rent and mortgage assistance program.
A letter to the editor in the Des Moines Register urges Congress to take action to prevent homelessness by passing emergency rental assistance and a uniform eviction moratorium in the next coronavirus relief package.
The Wall Street Journal reports that local advocates and officials in New Orleans are bracing for a sharp rise in evictions since the state’s ban on eviction expired in June and the grace period for the federal eviction moratorium expired August 24. Given limited public resources and overwhelming need for assistance, Mayor LaToya Cantrell is asking the public to donate funds for tenants who cannot pay their rent.
Fifteen years after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, the city is bracing for a tsunami of evictions caused by the pandemic. New Orleans renters face a dangerous combination of low incomes, expensive housing costs, weak tenant rights, and a housing supply that is crumbling. Making matters worse, Hurricane Laura threatened to flood the city again.
WBUR reports that nearly 109,000 Massachusetts households will need help paying their September rent and mortgage payments, according to a new study. Renters face the most urgent needs, with 61,000 households across the state in need of $57.2 million a month in housing assistance.
A Suffolk Superior Court judge denied a request to preliminary block Massachusetts officials from enforcing the state’s eviction moratorium. Judge Paul Wilson referred to stable housing as a “crucial component” of containing COVID-19 in Massachusetts.
Approximately 75 community members gathered at the 14B District Court in Ypsilanti Township on August 19 to protest 49 eviction hearings taking place that afternoon. Governor Gretchen Whitmer allowed Michigan’s eviction moratorium to expire July 15.
The Star Tribune reports that the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office has received 1,235 complaints from tenants since the state’s eviction moratorium was enacted in late March. The complaints often concern landlords attempting to remove tenants for nonpayment of rent, general misinformation about the moratorium, and other landlord violations of the executive order.
Missouri renters are facing growing risks of eviction alongside the COVID-19 pandemic and rising rents. The Coalition to Protect Missouri Tenants sent a letter on August 20 to Missouri Supreme Court Chief Justice George Draper III, asking for a statewide eviction moratorium that lasts at least six months. The letter stated that over the next four months, an estimated 243,000 evictions will be filed across the state.
Despite statewide rental assistance funds dwindling across Nevada and the Legislature-approved eviction mediation program not open yet, the eviction moratorium is set to expire August 31. The Guinn Center for Policy Priorities predicts 270,000 Nevada households could face eviction once the moratorium expires. The need for rental assistance far exceeds the $30 million Nevada made available for rental assistance.
Low-income renters needing assistance are getting discouraged by the long and complicated application process for New Hampshire’s rental assistance program. An attorney with New Hampshire Legal Aid reports that, as of August 13, more than 4,000 people had inquired about receiving rental assistance from the state’s program, but only 429 people had completed the applications.
New Jersey recently launched the Small Landlord Emergency Grant Program through the New Jersey Housing Mortgage Finance Agency. The program will reimburse small residential rental property owners for lost revenue due to COVID-19 between April and July 2020, if they agree to forgive outstanding back rent and late fees that their tenant accrued during this time.
Tenants and housing advocates rallied outside Troy City Court on August 27 to protest against evictions. There were about 30 landlord-tenant proceedings on the Troy City Court scheduled for August 27. VOCAL-NY, a grassroots advocacy organization, says that despite New York’s eviction moratorium, property owners are using pre-COVID-19 paperwork to pursue evictions.
An op-ed penned by Dave Giffen and Giselle Routhier of the Coalition for the Homeless in the New York Daily News discusses the vocal NIMBY voices urging officials to move people residing in hotels prematurely into congregate settings. The authors urge New Yorkers to stop dehumanizing people experiencing homelessness and instead act with compassion and reason.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on August 17 declared that he is considering moving people temporarily residing in hotels during the pandemic back into homeless shelters. An article in Curbed argues that hotels are still the city’s best chance to prevent the looming homelessness crisis. The #HomelessCantStayHome Coalition sent a letter to city officials on August 12, urging them to stop moving New Yorkers experiencing homelessness back to congregate shelters, end harmful sweeps, and enact additional policies to protect the health and safety of people experiencing homelessness.
The president of the Housing Court Judges Association, a union representing 50 housing court judges in New York City, testified on August 21 at a state senate hearing, urging New York legislators to intervene to prevent a looming ‘nightmare’ situation in housing court. Judge Daniele Chinea asked legislators to help landlords and tenants with their growing debts, rather than force judges to exercise discretion when both parties are reporting extreme financial strain.
Governor Roy Cooper announced $175 million to help North Carolinians with rental and utility support. The state’s Community Development Block Grant – Coronavirus (CDBG-CV), Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG-CV), and Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) will support three programs to help people avoid eviction.
FEMA denied funding on August 24 for the Trillium Hotels for Health Program, leaving nearly 150 people in North Carolina at risk of losing their temporary shelter the following day. The program, however, announced on August 25 it secured enough funds to house people for an additional week. A FEMA spokesperson says Trillium, the crisis agency that runs the program, was deemed ineligible because it did not have the legal responsibility to provide shelter for people experiencing homelessness.
Between 16,000-23,000 (or up to 21% of) North Dakota households are at risk of eviction. Approximately 450 renters in about 17 counties across North Dakota have been helped by the state’s Rent Bridge Program, which provides assistance for up to six months.
The Ohio Capital Journal reports that Governor Mike DeWine on August 20 announced that given limited resources, he had to prioritize fighting the coronavirus over assisting low-income Ohioans. Advocates, however, argue that it will be more difficult to stop the spread of COVID-19 as Ohioans become more vulnerable to evictions, food insecurity, and homelessness.
The Ohio Capital Journal reports that the Ohio Controlling Board will not consider advocates’ request that the state allocate $100 million of Ohio’s remaining $1.3 billion in Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) for emergency rental assistance.
The Oklahoma County Clerk on August 21 announced there were 91 eviction cases on its dockets for August 24. The court typically limits eviction cases to 75 per day. Community CARES Partners, an organization that provides rental assistance for renters impacted by the pandemic, has existed for only five weeks and has already received more than 3,000 applications.
Oregon’s $35 million emergency relief program ended on August 21 after tearing through the federal funds in less than three days. State legislators were shaken by the overwhelming display of need and have called for additional federal assistance. “The state of Oregon does not have those types of resources,” said House Speaker Tina Kotek. “We’re going to keep doing everything we can to step up, but at the end of the day, we need more money from the federal government.”
Up to 500,000 households across Pennsylvania could be evicted once the statewide moratorium ends September 1. Governor Tom Wolf said he does not have the power to extend the eviction moratorium, meaning the Republican-controlled legislature would have to extend it.
The Philadelphia Inquirer editorial board urged Pennsylvania’s legislature to extend the eviction moratorium set to expire August 31, and to provide emergency rental assistance to support landlords and keep tenants stably housed.
Myrtle Beach Online reports that the Eastern Carolina Housing Organization, which typically serves about 30 people per month, assisted 84 households in June and between 70-75 in July. Since South Carolina’s eviction moratorium ended in mid-May, more than 1,300 evictions have been filed in Horry County.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, about 42,000 of South Dakota’s roughly 139,000 renters had little or no confidence that they would be able to make their August rent payments.
Tennessee could see more than 280,000 potential eviction filings over the next several months. Legal aid attorneys report that landlords have attempted to illegally evict people during the pandemic. The Nashville General Sessions court will start processing evictions on August 31.
The Texas Tribune reports that since Governor Greg Abbott declared a public health disaster in March, more than 2,600 evictions have been filed in the Harris County justice of the peace precinct. Evictions are disproportionately impacting neighborhoods with large percentages of low-income immigrant families significantly impacted by unemployment.
Evictions cases in Utah have climbed a month after federal protections for some renters expired. Utah landlords filed 354 evictions in July and 569 evictions in August.
Arlington County added $1.1 million from its COVID-19 contingent account to its existing eviction protection fund, bringing the total amount allocated for eviction prevention to $3.5 million just since July 1, the beginning of the county’s fiscal year 2021. “Given the fact of diminished support from the federal government and the continuation of community spread of the virus, we believe the need for rent assistance is likely to continue to increase in coming months,” said County Board Chair Libby Garvey.
Virginia legislators introduced a bill (HB 5111) to halt evictions until 60 days after Virginia’s state of emergency ends. One Northern Virginia resident said that if the House and Senate bills are not passed, he and his family could become homeless.
The Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia used Stout’s tool to estimate that approximately 57,000 households in Washington DC will be at risk of eviction when the moratorium expires in December. There are significant racial disparities in renters’ ability to pay rent, reflecting the District’s racial wealth gap prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The King County’s homeless system has seen 445 cases of COVID-19 since March, with most of those cases occurring in the spring. Cases in Kings County have spiked in August, especially at homeless shelters. The Harborview Hall shelter in Seattle has seen 27 COVID-19 cases since the beginning of August.
A letter to the editor in the Kitsap Sun urges the Senate and White House to move quickly to enact a coronavirus relief package that includes emergency rental assistance and an eviction moratorium.
COVID-19 is escalating Milwaukee’s housing crisis and exacerbating racial disparities in housing. “Pre-COVID, there was definitely a racial pattern of filings, and that is definitely what we’re seeing now,” said Matt Mleczko, a research assistance with Princeton University’s Eviction Lab. “Though this is a bad situation for renters in general, this is something that yet again is exposing and exacerbating long-running inequalities in cities like Milwaukee.”
Department of Housing and Urban Development
Continuum of Care (CoC) FAQ: Can a CoC Take Actions within its Coordinated Entry Process to Prioritize Persons at Increased Risk of Severe Illness from COVID-19? – August 2020
Department of Treasury