“To avoid a tsunami that could put millions of people out on the street, Congress should extend and expand the national eviction moratorium, provide emergency rental assistance, and increase funding for families experiencing homelessness,” wrote Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) in an op-ed in the New York Times. Senator Warren introduced the “Protecting Renters from Evictions and Fees Act,” which would extend and broaden the eviction moratoriums included in the CARES Act to protect all renters in the U.S. for a full year.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has criticized the emerging Republican coronavirus relief package for failing to fund rental assistance, extend unemployment benefits, and provide hazard pay for essential workers. “Unfortunately, by all accounts the Senate Republicans are drafting legislation that comes up short in a number of vital areas, such as extending unemployment benefits or funding for rental assistance, hazard premium pay for frontline workers, or investments in communities of color being ravaged by the virus, and many other necessary provisions,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) wrote in a letter to colleagues.
Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
HHS Secretary Alex Azar on July 23 renewed the COVID-19 national public health emergency declaration, effective July 25.
The NLIHC-led Disaster Housing Recovery Coalition will continue to advocate a broad 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.
The National Housing Law Project and NLIHC, joined by 168 other organizations, sent a letter to HUD Secretary Ben Carson, urging the agency to use its legal authority to enact its own eviction moratorium to protect low-income renters. The letter provides policy recommendations to HUD to address the expiration of the CARES Act eviction moratorium on July 24 (see article elsewhere in Memo).
NLIHC Research Analyst Dan Threet joined the Off-Kilter Podcast for the first episode of a two-part series looking at the looming eviction cliff. Listen here.
According to an analysis from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, emerging data demonstrate that a growing number of households are struggling to afford food, and that millions of households are behind on rent. An estimated 13.1 million adult renters (one in five) were behind on rent for the week ending July 7, and rates were much higher for Black and Latino renters. The analysis also found that renters who are parents or otherwise live with children are more than twice as likely to be behind on rent.
Children’s Defense Fund urged Congress to provide robust housing assistance and fully extend the eviction moratorium. Without significant federal intervention, millions of children could lose their homes.
The National Housing Law Project surveyed 100 legal aid and civil rights attorneys in 38 states. The survey found that 85% of respondents expect a dramatic surge in eviction cases once moratoria expire, and 85% of respondents don’t know how they will handle this surge. Read a summary of the results here.
Reuters reported on the dangers of evicting people during a pandemic. As the number of evictions increases in areas where the coronavirus is rising, displaced families are doubling up with relatives or moving into shelters. “In these cases where social distancing is difficult or impossible, the likelihood of them contracting and spreading coronavirus increases exponentially,” said NLIHC President and CEO Diane Yentel.
In the face of illegal evictions reported across the country, advocates are urging Congress to extend the federal eviction moratorium in another relief bill and to include penalties for landlords who attempt to skirt the rules. “There should also be clearly delineated enforcement mechanisms and steep penalties for landlords who flout the law,” NLIHC’s Diane Yentel told the New York Times.
NPR’s “Morning Edition” reported on advocates’ concerns that without federal intervention, the wave of evictions already happening across the country will become a tsunami. Like so many other parts of this crisis, people of color will be disproportionately harmed. “It’s very clear that without a sustained federal intervention, there will be a wave of evictions and a spike in homelessness across the country,” said NLIHC’s Diane Yentel.
USA Today reported on data from the U.S. Census Bureau, which found that 24 million Americans reported having little to no chance of being able to pay next month’s rent. Black and Hispanic households represent a disproportionate share of those in danger. “Our housing system reflects tremendous disparities in race. And people of color are most at risk for evictions. These inequities are being compounded by COVID-19,” said NLIHC’s Diane Yentel.
Vice examines how mass evictions due to Congressional inaction could be significantly destabilizing for communities of color. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, approximately 56% of the nearly 24 million people who have little to no confidence in their ability to pay next month’s rent are Black or Latinx.
ProPublica found that the federal eviction moratorium was largely successful in keeping millions of renters from facing eviction during the pandemic. As the protections fade, landlords are preparing to return to court. “The next three weeks are going to be critically important. There will be a bill at the end of it, one way or another, and the scope and extent of it will determine if a tsunami of evictions will happen,” said NLIHC’s Diane Yentel.
In an article on the looming eviction crisis in the Los Angeles Times, NLIHC’s Diane Yentel calls attention to the need for Congress to provide broad rental assistance and other protections for tenants. While expanded unemployment insurance has been significant and helpful, it is insufficient to ensure housing stability for low-income renters.
An article in Marketplace highlights advocates’ warnings of a potential wave of evictions when the expanded unemployment insurance benefits and eviction moratoriums expire at the end of the month. The article highlights that the tsunami of evictions will disproportionately impact people of color. “People of color are most at risk of eviction. They are disproportionately rent burdened,” said NLIHC’s Diane Yentel.
NBC News reported on the significant challenges facing low-income renters as the expanded unemployment benefits and federal eviction moratoriums expire at the end of July. Without significant federal intervention, our country will experience an avalanche of evictions. The people disproportionately impacted by evictions, including people of color, seniors, people with disabilities, and families with children, are those most vulnerable to the pandemic.
An analysis from the Center for Public Integrity examined 8,089 eviction cases filed between March 27 and July 10 and found a clear pattern: landlords are filing eviction cases in poor, non-white neighborhoods across the jurisdictions it examined. “It’s deeply troubling. We’ve known for some time that there is a tremendous risk of extremely low-income renters being harmed by this crisis and being evicted, and we’ve known that such evictions would have a disproportionate impact on Black and brown and extremely low-income and historically marginalized people,” said NLIHC’s Diane Yentel.
The Hill discusses the wave of evictions that may come as the federal eviction moratorium expires July 24 at midnight. The article highlighted a series of bills, encompassing measures from the House-passed HEROES Act, that Senate Democrats are pushing to protect low-income renters.
The New York Times editorial board outlines the urgent need for Congress to take immediate steps to protect low-income renters and, in the coming months, to take action that will ensure every American has access to affordable housing.
MSNBC’s Ali Velshi explains the looming eviction crisis and why millions of Americans could be forced out of their homes if Congress doesn’t intervene now.
The Lily examines the disproportionate impact evictions have on Black women, and how the pandemic is expected to exacerbate this disparity.
Marketplace reported that across the country, rental assistance programs have been quickly overwhelmed by need.
CNBC reported on the expiration of the federal eviction moratorium, the need for Congress to act swiftly, and what tenants can to do if they are worried about eviction.
The Washington Post discusses housing advocates’ calls for Congress to intervene to prevent a significant rise in evictions. The article highlighted the House-passed emergency rental assistance bill.
Matt Desmond of Princeton University’s Eviction Lab spoke with NPR’s “Morning Edition,” calling attention to the millions of Americans who are facing the threat of eviction as the federal eviction moratorium is set to expire July 24.
Shelterforce interviewed with advocates, researchers, lawyers, and other experts to explore how an eviction crisis would impact evicted individuals and their families, shelter systems, public health, and the rental housing market.
The COVID-19 Eviction Defense Project estimates that between 19 million and 23 million renter households are at risk of eviction by September 30, 2020. The data indicate that both geography and discrimination play significant roles.
An op-ed in the Hill makes the case that dramatic federal intervention is needed to ensure that the public health crisis is not exacerbated by an eviction crisis. Failing to act will exacerbate the public health crisis and the racial justice crisis in housing.
The Appeal examines how our country’s flawed legal system will exacerbate the impending evictions cliff. COVID-19 is placing Black and Latinx people at a disproportionately higher risk of eviction, fueling our existing housing crisis.
The Los Angeles Times explores how the coronavirus pandemic is worsening Black Americans’ housing crisis. Across the United States, Black people faced the greatest housing insecurity before COVID-19, and now, along with Latino workers, they face the greatest job losses as a result of the pandemic
State and Local News
A list of state and local emergency rental assistance programs is available here from NLIHC.
An Arizona judge upheld Governor Doug Ducey’s eviction relief program after a Phoenix landlord challenged the governor’s eviction moratorium.
Arizona’s Rental Eviction Prevention Assistance Program is so backlogged that employees are reviewing applications submitted as far back as April. Fewer than 7% of renters who have applied for the program have received assistance, even after the Arizona Department of Housing announced it would simplify the application process and hire more reviewers. While nearly 80% of funding for the program remains unspent, the total amount tenants have requested is nearly $9 million, almost twice the amount that Governor Doug Ducey allocated for rent assistance.
San Francisco Mayor London Breed on July 21 announced a plan to fund the Homelessness Recovery Plan to help the city create more housing and shelter for people experiencing homelessness. The investments will make 6,000 additional placements available through Coordinated Entry, including 4,500 placements in Permanent Supportive Housing. The plan will include placements to ensure that residents who have been temporarily residing in hotels during the pandemic are not forced back on the streets.
The Los Angeles Times reported that the plaintiffs in a lawsuit accusing San Diego officials of failing to protect people with disabilities experiencing homelessness during the pandemic have amended their lawsuit. The lawsuit accuses the city of pushing people experiencing homelessness into the Convention Center shelter instead of hotel rooms. “By expending taxpayer funds on a congregate setting, instead of non-congregate settings, the city knew that it was effectively excluding homeless individuals with disabilities, who rely on the city’s homeless programs, from accessing shelter and services during the COVID-19 pandemic and/or placing them at greater risk of contracting COVID-19,” the amended complaint alleges.
City Lab examines how residential overcrowding is driving the high rates of COVID-19 among Latinos in San Francisco’s gentrified Mission District.
Santa Barbara County is shifting its focus from people experiencing homelessness into hotel rooms amid the pandemic to helping them make the transition directly to permanent housing.
Housing and homelessness advocates in Colorado are warning that homelessness will rise unless Congress acts. Cathy Alderman of the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless, an NLIHC state partner, discussed why preventing mass evictions should be a public health priority.
Last month, about 12% of Colorado renters and 4.5% of homeowners said that they had missed their housing payments.
Connecticut housing advocates expect a flood of eviction notices as the federal eviction moratorium and enhanced unemployment insurance benefits expire.
After funding for a hotel voucher program ran out on July 17, dozens of people experiencing homelessness who were residing in a Fort Lauderdale hotel were forced to leave. Some residents were transported to area shelters on July 17, and all residents were expected to vacate the hotel by Sunday, July 19. The Sun Sentinel and Miami Herald also covered the eviction of the residents from the Rodeway Inn & Suites.
A Palm Beach County nonprofit reported that thousands of low-income renters are at risk of eviction and homelessness due to the pandemic. Since March 1, Adopt-A-Family CEO Matt Constantine reported that the organization has received more than 2,000 calls from families in need of assistance. The organization is serving nearly twice as many families compared to 2019.
An opinion piece in the Civil Beat discusses the urgent need for bold action to prevent a tidal wave of evictions and an increase in homelessness in Hawaii. Even with the state’s eviction moratorium, there are widespread reports of landlords illegally evicting tenants and imposing aggressive tactics to pressure the tenant to leave “voluntarily.”
An Ada County judge on July 20 ruled that Idaho tenants have the right to a jury trial in eviction proceedings. The ruling reversed a law that has been in place in Idaho since 1996. Idaho Legal Aid services have already received twice the requests for need compared to this time last year.
The Hoosier Housing Needs Coalition developed a “yardstick” to measure four necessary steps for the state to take before Governor Eric Holcomb should consider lifting the eviction moratorium.
The Telegraph editorial board examines how the pandemic is revealing the urgency of addressing our country’s housing and homelessness crisis.
The Cook County Board on July 16 approved a resolution that will use an “equitable funding formula” with a heavy emphasis on economically disinvested areas to distribute $51 million of CARES Act funds among municipalities to reimburse direct costs incurred while responding to the pandemic. Board commissioners sent a second resolution to the Finance Committee that would allocate nearly $82 million from the Coronavirus Relief Fund to support local businesses, assist renters, and fund hotels providing shelter for people experiencing homelessness.
Social service organizations are bracing for a homelessness crisis to hit rural Americans as eviction moratoriums and federal unemployment benefits end soon. As many as 240,000 Kentuckians could face eviction as federal coronavirus relief benefits are terminated.
After just four days, Louisiana had to shut down the $24 million COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program after it was inundated with applicants seeking aid. According to the Louisiana Housing Corporation, the program was expected to help about 10,000 residents, but after receiving four times as many applications, it had to be suspended.
Maine landlords can resume filing evictions on August 3, and housing advocates are concerned that the state will see a rise in evictions as the supplemental unemployment insurance benefits expire. “Tenants are in a very tenuous position,” said Greg Payne, director of the Maine Affordable Housing Coalition, an NLIHC state partner.
A new study from the Maine Affordable Housing Coalition, an NLIHC state partner, found that Maine families in subsidized housing have barely been able to keep up with rent payments. Some are falling behind on other bills, using food pantries, or relying on federal and state assistance.
Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich on July 21 recommended that the County Council appropriate $20 million from the CARES Act to expand rental assistance for eviction and homelessness prevention. “With the Courts lifting the stay on evictions after July 25 and the schedule to hear nonpayment of rent cases after August 31, I believe it is imperative that we support tenants using all our resources. I recognize that $20 million is not the full amount we will need, but it represents a significant initial allotment to meet immediate challenges,” said County Executive Elrich.
Governor Larry Hogan on July 20 announced that eight counties will receive more than $2.3 million in the first round of Maryland Eviction Prevention Partnership grants.
Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker extended the statewide eviction moratorium until October 17. Housing court administrators estimated that they could be flooded with 20,000 eviction cases when the moratorium was initially set to expire in August.
Minneapolis organizers have begun to move people residing in the Powderhorn Park encampment to other parks due to size and safety concerns of the Powderhorn encampment. The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board on July 15 voted to restrict the growing number of encampments in parks across the city.
More households across central Nebraska are struggling to pay rent due to COVID-19. Tri-city homeless shelters are preparing for a potential rise in people requesting emergency housing. According to the associate executive director at the Crossroads Center Rescue Mission in Kearney, resident numbers in the organization’s shelters rose 30% over the past week.
Clark County is seeking to protect tenants whose housing security has been impacted by the pandemic. The ordinance would prohibit landlords from refusing to rent, negotiate, or make available a property to someone based on their source of income or if they were previously evicted for reasons caused by the pandemic.
Nevada’s $30 million rental assistance program, funded through the federal Coronavirus Relief Fund, began taking applications on July 20. Learn more about the CARES Housing Assistance Program at https://housing.nv.gov/
More than 60,000 New Jersey residents are vying for the state’s $100 million COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program. It is unclear how many of the 60,838 applicants will be approved for assistance.
An op-ed in the Philadelphia Inquirer urges the New Jersey Legislature to act quickly to prevent an eviction and foreclosure tsunami caused by the pandemic.
Representative Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ) held a virtual meeting with the Housing Alliance of Morris County on housing security and homelessness response during the pandemic.
The New Mexico Department of Health told KOAT News that the state is using federal funding to convert 18 hotels across the state into non-congregate shelters for people experiencing homelessness, law enforcement officers, health care workers, and members of local tribes.
The New York Housing Conference, joined by 51 elected officials, former housing agency leaders, and nearly 100 organizations, sent a letter to Congressional leaders on July 17, urging them to prioritize rental assistance and aid to states and localities. The letter calls on Congress to fund $100 billion in rental assistance and $915 billion for state and local governments.
The population of New York City’s jails has nearly halved because of pandemic-related releases. A group of nonprofits and activist organizations have urged the city’s housing authority to end its longstanding policies that discriminate against justice-involved people or people who have been previously incarcerated.
An article in the New York City Patch discusses the findings of NLIHC’s Out of Reach 2020 report, highlighting NLIHC’s warning that the coronavirus pandemic likely will increase hardship for low-income renters.
“Even with extended unemployment, North Carolina would benefit greatly from a federal rental and utility assistance package,” wrote Governor Roy Cooper in a letter to Congress outlining his policy priorities for the next coronavirus relief package. Governor Cooper also asked Congress to urge FEMA to provide 100% federal reimbursement for non-federal cost share for state and local costs of responding to COVID, robust and flexible dollars to state and local governments, and other priorities.
Northeast Ohio advocates are concerned that thousands of Ohioans will face evictions after the federal moratorium expires on July 24. Studies estimate that as many as 713,255 Ohio renters could face eviction this year.
The Daily Record examines how the coronavirus pandemic has created an additional layer of problems for people experiencing homelessness in Ohio. The Coalition on Housing and Homelessness in Ohio, an NLIHC state partner, continues to call on Governor Mike DeWine to allocate $100 million of remaining CARES Act dollars to emergency rental assistance and urge the U.S. Senate to pass $100 billion in emergency rental assistance.
The Dayton Daily News discusses housing experts’ concerns that without a statewide rental assistance program, thousands of Ohio families will face eviction and homelessness. The Ohio Poverty Law Center and more than 100 other advocacy organizations have asked Governor Mike DeWine to earmark $100 million in federal Coronavirus Relief Funds for emergency rental assistance.
The Columbus Dispatch Editorial Board discusses the dangerous threat of evictions and utility cut-offs that looms as temporary eviction moratoriums expire. The paper expresses support for the Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio’s (COOHIO) call for $100 million of Ohio’s federal coronavirus relief funds to be allocated for emergency rental assistance.
The Statehouse News Bureau highlights NLIHC’s Out of Reach 2020 report findings and how the pandemic has worsened Ohio’s housing crisis. Advocates are urging Governor Mike DeWine to allocate at least $100 million of federal relief funds for emergency rental assistance.
An op-ed in the Philadelphia Inquirer discusses the urgent need for Congress to extend the eviction moratorium through at least December and offer assistance that meets the immense housing needs of all people across Pennsylvania.
The Wall Street Journal reported that Houston is expected to suffer significantly more evictions than most major cities. This is because Houston has stopped providing protections at the local level after Texas’ eviction moratorium expired in May. Tenant advocates and housing attorneys expect that evictions could soon surpass historical averages. The rise in evictions coincides with surging coronavirus cases.
The Texas Tribune examines how lack of access to federal assistance and fear of the legal system have prompted many undocumented immigrations to self-evict. While undocumented tenants have the same rights as anyone else during the eviction process, housing attorneys and immigration advocates say that they are often hesitant to exercise these rights.
The Texas Homeless Network is urging Congress to intervene to prevent low-income renters from being evicted and forced into homelessness. Without emergency rental assistance and an extended and expanded eviction moratorium, the number of people experiencing homelessness in Texas will rise to an estimated 40,000.
The Houston Chronicle highlights the story of a Houston family that was recently evicted alongside several of their neighbors in an apartment complex.
Seattle is allocating $13 million from the Washington State Department of Commerce COVID-19 Emergency Housing Grant to help people experiencing homelessness amid the pandemic.
An article in the DC Line urges the DC Council and Mayor Muriel Bowser to revise the budget to increase funding for preventing and ending homelessness. Compared to other jurisdictions, DC’s overall response to COVID-19 has been considered slow and passive by some, particularly for the thousands of DC residents experiencing homelessness, 87% of whom are Black.
Governor Tony Evers allocated $25 million to rental assistance, but it is insufficient to meet the urgent housing needs of Wisconsin renters. “I think we’ll run out of money way before we put a dent into that list [of applications],” said George Hinton, the executive director of the Social Development Commission in Milwaukee.
Department of Housing and Urban Development
COVID-19 FAQs for Tribes and Tribally Designated Housing Entities - Updated July 17