House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-NY) announced that she would delay or cancel August recess to pass a coronavirus relief bill. Speaker Pelosi discussed the need to approve assistance to help people remain stably housed as eviction and foreclosure moratoriums expire.
NLIHC President and CEO Diane Yentel joined Vox’s Today, Explained podcast to discuss the current situation for low-income renters in the United States, the urgency of enacting emergency housing provisions to keep families stably housed during the pandemic, and the long-term investments needed to end our country’s affordable housing crisis. She also joined FAIR’s CounterSpin to discuss our nation’s affordable housing crisis and the urgent need for emergency rental assistance to keep families stably housed during and after the pandemic.
Rachel Fee, executive director of the New York Housing Conference and NLIHC’s Diane Yentel coauthored an op-ed in the New York Daily News urging Congress to take immediate action to protect renters impacted by the current health and economic crisis.
HuffPost published an article highlighting findings from NLIHC’s Out of Reach 2020 report. “What the report shows us is just how steep of an affordable challenge low-income renters had even before the coronavirus. And it highlights the tremendous challenges that these same low-income renters face now during the coronavirus and its financial fallout,” said NLIHC’s Diane Yentel.
NBC reported on the impending tsunami of evictions that will exacerbate already high homeless rates across the country. “Before the coronavirus even came to our country, we were in a housing crisis and had a shortage of seven million homes available to low-income renters. The longer the crisis, the deeper in the hole they fall,” said NLIHC’s Diane Yentel.
CNBC reported on NLIHC’s Out of Reach 2020 report findings, discussing the relevance of its findings in terms of the coronavirus pandemic and economic fallout. The article highlights NLIHC’s policy priorities, including significant investments in affordable housing and emergency rental assistance.
Law360 examines on the wave of evictions that is already happening across the country as federal coronavirus relief resources and protections expire. “In fact, the wave has already begun - evictions are happening now, and they’re happening in states where new coronavirus cases are surging,” said NLIHC’s Diane Yentel.
Rental data indicate that more people are relying on their credit cards to pay rent, causing concern among housing policy experts about the long-term implications of the practice. “Of course, the question then becomes, on down the road, how will they pay those credit cards off? It’s troubling,” said NLIHC Vice President of Research Andrew Aurand.
Yahoo! News explores housing experts’ concerns that millions of Americans will lose their homes during the pandemic if Congress fails to act. “Congress must step up now to provide relief to keep renters and homeowners in their homes and make sure that we don’t emerge from this crisis with greater racial and economic disparities than we had before,” said Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH).
The Wall Street Journal discusses the looming eviction crisis as the federal eviction moratorium and supplemental unemployment benefits expire at the end of July. House Democrats voted in May to expand the eviction moratorium, provide $100 billion in rental assistance, and other critical resources. The article stated that Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID), chairman of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, declined to comment on any Republican plan to ensure families are stably housed during and after the pandemic.
An op-ed in Bloomberg outlines the urgent need for a widespread, longer-lasting eviction moratorium and emergency rental assistance. The author argued that the impending wave of evictions would be both a humanitarian disaster and an economic crisis.
An article in Popular Science examines why a potential wave of mass evictions would compound this year’s turbulent hurricane season. Communities across the country could soon face the dangerous confluence of COVID-19, mass evictions, and a dangerous hurricane season.
Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) spoke about how the coronavirus pandemic and economic fallout will exacerbate our nation’s affordable housing crisis and how this will disproportionately harm Black and Brown people on the Appeal’s “The Briefing” on July 14. Watch the episode here.
Habitat for Humanity International on July 15 held a discussion on housing stability during the COVID-19 pandemic. Special guests included Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) and former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro. Watch the discussion here.
As during the the 2008 crisis, the U.S. is facing another wave of mass displacement due to the coronavirus pandemic, and there is still no federal database to track evictions and foreclosures. Without a federal system to track foreclosures and evictions, we will never know the full scope of the pandemic’s impact on the housing crisis.
State and Local News
A list of state and local emergency rental assistance programs is available here from NLIHC.
The Anchorage Coalition to End Homelessness released a report on July 13, which found that Anchorage should provide an estimated 3,000 new housing units and shelter beds to meet the growing needs of the people experiencing homelessness in the city. The level of homelessness assistance is expected to rise in the coming months due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Anchorage Assembly heard public comments on a controversial ordinance that would authorize the city of Anchorage to buy or lease four properties for up to $22.5 million to turn them into a daytime engagement center, social service facility/homelessness shelter, treatment center, and transitional living center. These new facilities would seek to address the pandemic’s impact on Anchorage’s shelter system, and part of the funds would come from the CARES Act.
Governor Doug Ducey on July 16 signed an executive order extending a statewide eviction moratorium until October 31, 2020. Governor Ducey also announced $5 million to launch the Foreclosure Prevention Program and an additional $650,000 in new funding for community action agencies to improve the administration of rental assistance programs.
Governor Doug Ducey on July 14 announced a plan to distribute nearly $6 million in Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG-CV) to combat homelessness, with $4.35 million allocated to shelters, programs, and services serving people experiencing homelessness and $1.6 million for homelessness prevention.
Tucson has leased 365 hotel rooms to house people experiencing homelessness amid the pandemic, and 390 people are currently checked into rooms. Since the program began in March, approximately 500 people have participated and 80 people have transitioned into permanent housing.
The Los Angeles Times reports new state testing guidelines that place people experiencing homelessness into “Tier 2,” second in the line of testing priority, behind only hospital patients with COVID symptoms, healthcare workers, and people with known COVID-positive contacts.
More than 150,000 people applied for the Los Angeles COVID-19 rental assistance program on July 13. The $103 million rent relief program is only anticipated to assist approximately 50,000 applicants.
The Bakersfield-Kern Regional Homeless Collaborative plan to lease hotel space to provide temporary housing fort people experiencing homelessness has been postponed due to negative feedback from community residents and business owners.
The Denverite reports that the city and service providers are developing innovative ideas to house individuals experiencing homelessness, but that families experiencing homelessness in Denver are left behind.
A rise in homelessness as a result of the coronavirus pandemic has already begun in Colorado. Landlords have filed more than 800 eviction cases since June 1, and the pace is likely to increase rapidly. When urged by housing advocates to renew the statewide eviction moratorium, Governor Jared Polis has responded that he needs to balance the needs of property owners with those of tenants.
The Sun Sentinel reported that funds for Fort Lauderdale’s hotel voucher program are running out. Officials, providers, and advocates are raising concerns about where the guests will go after the funds run out, which could be as early as July 17.
The Miami-Dade Affordable Housing Framework, unveiled July 2, outlines a detailed action plan to address the county’s growing housing affordability crisis. The plan incorporates the coronavirus pandemic in its projections and solutions. Learn more about the framework here.
Approximately 70 people experiencing homelessness who had been temporarily residing at a Rodeway Inn & Suites in Fort Lauderdale were given an abrupt notice on July 12 that they would be forced to leave the hotel within 24 hours. The City of Fort Lauderdale then changed course and released a statement on July 13 announcing that it had secured funding to continue providing temporary housing at the hotel. Broward County previously told the city that CARES Act funding was not intended for programs like Temporary Hotel Assistance, but on July 13, the county agreed to allocate funding to extend the program until July 17.
Eligible renters can apply to Idaho’s $15 million rental assistance program, which will provide assistance for an initial three month period. While advocates have applauded the allocation, they are concerned that barriers still exist for tenants seeking to access the funds.
An article in One Illinois highlights NLIHC’s Out of Reach 2020 report and discusses how the pandemic and its economic fallout have exacerbated the dire housing crisis in Illinois and across the country. “Even before the pandemic, far too many families in Illinois were making impossible decisions between paying rent and basic necessities like food and medicine. Now, with decreased work hours, furloughs, and job losses from an ongoing public health crisis, they’re in an even tough situation. We’re going to see a wave of evictions and a spike in homelessness unless more rental assistance dollars are made available,” said Sharon Legenza, executive director of Housing Action Illinois, an NLIHC state partner.
Indianapolis stopped accepting applications for its rental assistance program after receiving more than 10,000 applications since the system opened on July 13. More than 11,000 Hoosiers applied to the Indiana COVID-19 Rental Assistance Program in the first 48 hours. The $25 million program is expected to assist 12,000 households, out of an estimated 258,782 households who will need rental assistance by September 2020.
Prosperity Indiana, an NLIHC state partner, released a brief outlining why the state must prepare for multiple waves of COVID-19 evictions starting August 1 through 2021 and beyond. The evolving nature of the coronavirus pandemic and the economic crisis could bring several waves of evictions.
The Des Moines Register discussed NLIHC’s Out of Reach 2020 report and highlighted how the coronavirus pandemic will exacerbate Iowa’s affordable housing crisis.
The Central Maine editorial board argues that robust federal action is needed to prevent widespread evictions and urges Congress to pass NLIHC’s policy priorities. Officials are expecting a flood of evictions when Maine courts reopen as soon as August 3.
WYPR examined why mass evictions may be Maryland’s next public health crisis. Advocates are urging Governor Hogan to extend the state’s eviction moratorium or direct more of its federal coronavirus funding to rent relief.
The Hagerstown City Council on July 14 approved the distribution of more than $470,000 in federal coronavirus relief funding to provide housing, utilities, and food assistance to low- and moderate-income residents.
Approximately 20 cars staged a drive-by protest at the house of Baltimore Mayor Bernard “Jack” Young on July 12 to demand that he cancel rent, reallocate police spending, and take other actions to help residents impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
The Boston Herald reported that Boston’s largest homeless shelter, Pine Street Inn, announced that it is leasing and operating an entire Best Western Hotel to provide housing for 180 people who had previously been staying in Suffolk University dorm rooms. The organization has a one-year lease for the hotel, which it will use as a “bridge” towards permanent housing.
While Governor Gretchen Whitmer has extended Michigan’s eviction moratorium multiple times, she allowed it to expire on July 16, replacing it with an eviction diversion program. Housing advocates are concerned because the funding for the program, $50 million in federal coronavirus relief funds, will not be available until early August, two weeks after courts are permitted to resume eviction proceedings. Learn more about Michigan’s Eviction Diversion Program here.
With facilities closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, designated cooling centers in Macomb County are no longer available. A list of facilities that were used last year was removed from the county’s website on July 14. Cooling centers are locations where people experiencing homelessness and those without access to air conditioning can cool off during the hottest times of the day.
Governor Tim Walz on July 14 announced a $100 million housing assistance program funded through the CARES Act. The Minnesota Housing Finance Agency launched a COVID-19 Housing Assistance Program request for proposals to select local organizations to administer the rent relief.
An episode of NPR’s All Things Considered reported on Powderhorn Park, a Minneapolis encampment that has grown to 550 tents. David Hewitt, who leads Hennepin County’s Office to End Homelessness, discussed how the pandemic has strained service providers, and Eric Tars at the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty expressed concern about the rise of homelessness that will likely occur when eviction moratoriums expire.
An article in ROI-NJ discusses NLIHC’s Out of Reach 2020 report, which found that New Jersey is the seventh most expensive place in the United States for renters. “Trying to make the rent has always been a struggle for New Jerseyans and the coronavirus pandemic has rendered it almost impossible,” said Staci Berger, CEO and president of the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey, an NLIHC state partner.
Advocates in Albuquerque have protested the city’s decision to continue clearing encampments despite guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention concerning encampments and the pandemic. The city’s deputy director of housing and homelessness said that the city will not change its policy, even with the recent rise in new COVID-19 cases, citing that encampments pose serious health risks
Governor Andrew Cuomo on July 14 announced an emergency rental assistance program that will be funded through the Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF). New York’s COVID Rent Relief Program will be administered by New York State Homes and Community Renewal.
Public defenders and housing advocates warn that there will be tens of thousands of eviction cases in New York City once restrictions concerning the reopening of the courts are lifted, likely prompting a new wave of infections and evictions.
Eviction hearings resumed June 22 in Buncombe County, and housing advocates in Asheville are concerned that there will be a sharp rise in homelessness without significant state and federal intervention. While the Asheville City Council is preparing to vote on allocating funds toward rental assistance, the funds will be insufficient to meet the demand for assistance.
WCBE interviewed Marcus Roth of the Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio, an NLIHC state partner, to discuss the Out of Reach 2020 report findings and advocates’ concerns about a potential surge of evictions and rise in homelessness in the coming months.
The Oregon Housing Alliance, an NLIHC state partner, released a statement on July 14, referencing the Out of Reach 2020 report and highlighting concerns that the cost of housing in Oregon continues to rise despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
Pennsylvania Real-Time News highlights findings from NLIHC’s Out of Reach 2020 report and mentions advocates’ concerns that the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent economic downturn has exacerbated the housing crisis.
Evictions in Harris County continue to rise, with 2,300 eviction cases filed in Harris County in just the past month. Tenants facing eviction in the county have fewer protections than tenants in other parts of the country.
KUER discussed NLIHC’s Out of Reach 2020 report findings on the gap between wages and the cost of rent in Utah. The article also mentions advocates’ concerns about how the coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated the state’s housing crisis. Deseret News also discussed NLIHC’s Out of Reach 2020 report and advocates’ concerns that COVID-19 has made affordable housing more of an issue for Utahans who already struggled to afford rent before the pandemic.
A letter to the editor of Deseret News described how the pandemic has exacerbated Utah’s housing and homelessness crisis and urged the Utah delegation to prioritize housing in any upcoming aid package.
Vermont’s COVID-19 Rental Housing Stabilization Program is now accepting applications. Homeowners seeking mortgage assistance can apply through the Vermont Housing Finance Agency, and tenants and landlords must submit applications through the Vermont State Housing Authority.
Legislators, housing advocates, and tenants are hopeful that Governor Jay Inslee will extend Washington’s moratorium, currently set to expire August 1. While the state has earmarked $100 million from the CARES Act to provide rental assistance, advocates argue that this is not enough to prevent a massive wave of evictions.
The Seattle Medium highlighted findings from NLIHC’s Out of Reach 2020 report and discussed advocates’ concerns about how the pandemic will impact low-income renters. “COVID-19, job losses, and rent burden are all hitting Black, Indigenous, and Latinx communities the hardest. Without bold action from Congress and the state, thousands of people will lose their homes, homelessness will spike, and communities already struggling will be harmed the most,” said Rachael Myers, executive director of the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance, an NLIHC state partner.
Racine launched the Racine Emergency Eviction Prevention Program to help low-income residents avoid eviction and prevent homelessness. The Racine Common Council approved $396,712 from its Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG-CV) to fund the program, which is expected to help approximately 300 households.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Department of Health and Human Services
Department of Housing and Urban Development
COVID-19 FAQs for Public Housing Agencies - Updated July 16
CDBG-CV COVID-19 FAQ - Updated July 10
HUD resources now available in Spanish:
- Sistema de Respuesta para las Personas sin Hogar: Sistema para Involucrar a los Arrendadores
- Sistema de Respuesta para Personas sin Hogar: Cuando Utilizar Equipo de Protección Personal
Extension of Administrative Relief and Other Flexibilities for Recipients and Subrecipients of FEMA Financial Assistance for Response to or Direct Impacts from COVID-19 per OMB Memorandum M-20-26 - July 15