House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on June 29, urging him to begin bipartisan negotiations on the next coronavirus relief package. “As Americans struggle to make rent payments and face evictions, and as our health care and childcare systems face unprecedented burdens,” the letter reads. “Senate Republicans have been missing in action at your direction.”
Representative Maxine Waters (D-CA), chairwoman of the House Committee on Financial Services, and Representative Denny Heck (D-WA) discussed the legislation they introduced to meet the urgent need for emergency rental assistance.
Other statements on the COVID-19 housing crisis made by members of Congress:
“Now we’re facing a housing tsunami as millions of families go to sleep every night afraid and anxious of where they’re going to get their rent money,” said Representative Adriano Espaillat (D-NY). Watch the clip here.
“As we know,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), “there was an affordable housing crisis in America long before COVID, which challenges the conscience of our country, and now has been exacerbated by COVID-19. . . . We cannot accept the situation in which millions of families are forced to make the devastating choice between paying the rent, paying for groceries, and other essentials.” Watch the clip here.
“This is an emergency. The hospitals are filling up. Children are hungry. People have lost their jobs. This is about whether or not people are going to have a place to lay their head. This is about whether or not families are going to stay together,” said House Financial Services Committee Chair Maxine Waters (D-CA). Watch the clip here.
Federal Housing Finance Administration
The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced on June 29 that tenant protections apply to properties with Enterprise-backed loans that are in forbearance.
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. For more information, see DHRC’s full list of recommendations.
NLIHC President and CEO Diane Yentel, Mike Koprowski and Chantelle Wilkinson of the Opportunity Starts at Home campaign, and Allison Bovell-Ammon and Dr. Megan Sandel of Children’s HealthWatch wrote an article in Academic Pediatrics calling for federal housing investments in affordable housing for families with children.
Last Week with John Oliver addressed the looming eviction crisis. Their team spoke with NLIHC and other housing advocates and experts to develop the episode. Watch the clip here. Read an article about the episode in Deadline Hollywood.
As coronavirus housing protections expire, experts warn of an eviction tsunami. The surge of evictions has already begun in cities and states that have resumed evictions, and in some cases, these are locations that are also seeing sharp increases in coronavirus cases. “Without a significant federal intervention, there will be a wave of evictions and a spike in homelessness across the country. Our work now is to prevent it from becoming a tsunami and we’re running out of time,” said NLIHC President and CEO Diane Yentel.
Buzzfeed News outlines steps that tenants can take if their landlord attempts to evict them during the crisis, citing advice from NLIHC President and CEO Diane Yentel and other housing experts.
The Tennessean reported on the looming eviction crisis, as Tennessee was one of 24 states that allowed eviction proceedings to resume this month. On June 24, Bedford County residents planned a courthouse vigil for 62 renters who are now facing eviction. “We are very concerned about a wave of evictions and a spike in homelessness unless there’s some sort of federal intervention,” said NLIHC President and CEO Diane Yentel.
Vox examines how the pandemic is exposing our country’s housing crisis and discusses legislation introduced by Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Representatives Jesus “Chuy” Garcia (D-IL) and Barbara Lee (D-CA) that would enact a nationwide eviction moratorium. “Renters who have lost their job or had their income reduced shouldn’t have to fear losing their homes in the middle of a pandemic. Housing is a human right and an absolute necessity to keep families safe during this crisis, and Congress must step in now to help keep people in their homes,” said Senator Warren.
The Boston Globe reported on Senator Elizabeth Warren’s (D-MA) bill that would extend and expand the nationwide eviction moratorium. “This economic crisis is also a housing crisis. We need some short-term, emergency solutions to make sure families can stay in their homes,” said Senator Warren on NLIHC’s national call on coronavirus, housing, and homelessness.
Axios discusses the legislation Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) introduced on June 29, which would extend and expand a nationwide eviction moratorium.
“We’re about to face this perfect storm for people of color in this country in a few weeks when we have a wave of evictions dealing with the pandemic and its effects that have already hit communities of color and low-income communities the hardest,” said former Housing and Urban Development Secretary and former presidential candidate Julian Castro in an interview in the Atlantic.
The Hill reported how millions of tenants face risk of eviction in late July as the federal eviction moratorium and supplemental unemployment benefits expire. Despite Democrats’ efforts to enact another coronavirus relief package, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has vowed not to move the House-passed HEROES Act.
Lisa Rice, president and CEO of the National Fair Housing Alliance, spoke with Marketplace about the threat of mass evictions as moratoriums expire. Evictions may disproportionately impact Black and Latino households, who are twice as likely to be renters as white households.
The Progressive discusses the looming surge of evictions. By early July, thirty states are expected to begin eviction proceedings.
Shelterforce spoke with six regional and state housing advocates, including NLIHC state partners and board members, about the connections among racial equity, housing, and the pandemic.
Reuters examines how pandemic prison releases have contributed to a severe need for housing at a time when overstretched shelter systems are working to accommodate residents while maintaining social distancing guidelines.
Next City examines New York City’s effort to move people experiencing homelessness into hotels, and how advocates from seven different nonprofits are collaborating on the “Homeless Can’t Stay Home” campaign.
State and Local News
A list of state and local emergency rental assistance programs is available here from NLIHC.
Governor Gavin Newsom announced at a press conference on June 30 that California has acquired 15,679 hotel and motel rooms and moved approximately 14,200 people experiencing homelessness into the rooms.
California legislators are working to push through a wide range of bills aimed at addressing homelessness and housing insecurity. Assembly Bill 3269, for example, would mandate state and local governments to develop plans to reduce homelessness by 90% within eight years. However, the state budget, which has been significantly impacted by the pandemic, will be the biggest barrier to passing legislation to address homelessness.
While it is unclear whether pandemic-related releases from state prisons have exacerbated California’s homeless crisis, El Dorado County District Attorney Vern Pierson warns that it is only a matter of time until this occurs.
Testing at nine Denver shelters in late May and early June revealed that between six and seven percent of people experiencing homelessness tested positive for the coronavirus. While this rate is higher than the positive rate of the overall population in Denver, the results are lower than those from earlier tests. Cathy Alderman of the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless, an NLIHC state partner, said that these results prove the effectiveness of raising awareness about COVID-19 and ensuring that people who are medically vulnerable or test positive for the coronavirus are separated from others experiencing homelessness.
Governor Ned Lamont announced on June 29 a plan to allocate more than $33 million in state and federal resources to assist for renters, homeowners, and residential landlords impacted by COVID-19. In addition to these funds, larger Connecticut cities received $10 million in Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG-CV). The Connecticut Department of Housing is encouraging those municipalities to allocate some of the ESG-CV funds to provide rent arrearage assistance.
Governor Ron DeSantis on June 30 extended Florida’s eviction moratorium until August 1. The governor announced the extension just hours before the earlier extension was scheduled to expire.
The coronavirus pandemic and its economic fallout have burdened Orange County residents who struggled to pay rent before the crisis. Last year, NLIHC ranked the Orlando metro area as the least affordable place to live in the United States.
An analysis by the University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization and the Hawaii Budget and Policy Center estimates that between 40,000 and 45,000 of Hawaii renter households will be unemployed by the end of July. Approximately 21,500 of these renter households will be at risk of losing their housing, while 7,500 renter households will be at extreme risk “because the portion of their income going to housing will jump by 30% or more.”
An analysis recently released by the Center for Planning Excellence of Baton Rouge and Urban Footprint found that Louisiana ranks third in the nation for having a high risk for evictions due to pandemic-related job losses. Advocates warn that if Congress does not pass the “Emergency Rental Assistance and Rental Market Stabilization Act of 2020,” the state will see a surge of evictions and a rise in homelessness.
Baltimore City Mayor Bernard “Jack” Young announced on June 29 the launch of a $13 million rental assistance program. The city’s eviction moratorium is in place through late July. The rent relief program is funded through the Community Development Block Grant - Coronavirus (CDBG-CV).
Baltimore City is dedicating $3 million from the Emergency Solutions Grants - Coronavirus (ESG-CV) for rent payments. The city has received the support of the Affordable Housing Trust Fund Commission for an expected $2.75 million to assist eligible renters facing hardship that may not be eligible for the temporary rent relief program.
The Boston Globe reports on the ‘tsunami of evictions’ that could push thousands of Massachusetts residents from their homes. A disproportionate number of evictions will impact communities of color.
A new report from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology released on June 28 found that communities of color in Boston are disproportionately impacted by evictions. The pandemic has exacerbated this problem, with almost 80% of suspended eviction filings during the moratorium in communities of color.
Bloomberg CityLab examines why the impending wave of evictions as a result of the coronavirus will disproportionately impact Black renters. The article discusses a recent study from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology that found that eviction cases filed since the start of COVID-19 are overwhelmingly located in majority-Black neighborhoods.
Representative Mike Connolly and House Housing Chair Kevin Honan filed the “COVID-19 Housing Stability Act” (H.D. 5166). The bill would extend the eviction moratorium for one year, protect small property owners in owner-occupied rental properties, freeze rents at pre-COVID levels, and take additional steps to protect renters and prevent evictions. Read a summary of the bill here.
Father Bill’s & MainSpring, an organization that runs a downtown Brockton homeless shelter, received a $150,000 donation from a private foundation to provide shelter and hot meals to more than 200 adults per night during the pandemic. The funds will also enable the organization to continue operating more than 550 permanent supportive housing units and providing shelter to more than 130 families per night.
The city of St. Louis has ordered another encampment under Interstate 44 to be vacated, the third encampment in recent months that the city has ordered to be disbanded. A lawsuit has been filed in response to the city’s actions.
The City of Las Vegas announced on July 1 a new short-term rental and mortgage assistance program for residents experiencing housing insecurity due to COVID-19-related loss of income. The City of North Las Vegas also announced a rental assistance program. Both programs use Community Development Block Grant - Coronavirus (CDBG-CV) and Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG-CV).
Staci Berger, president and CEO of the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey, an NLIHC state partner, wrote an op-ed in NJ Spotlight urging Congress to take bold action to protect New Jersey renters.
A federal judge rejected a lawsuit from three landlords seeking to end Governor Andrew Cuomo’s eviction moratorium. The residential landlords who sued Governor Cuomo claimed that his moratorium and order allowing tenants to use security deposits to pay rent violated their due process, contract, and property rights.
Politico reports on the potential explosion in homelessness New York will face as federal CARES Act protections expire. Without federal intervention, tens of thousands of New Yorkers face eviction.
Roof Above, an organization that serves men experiencing homelessness, will temporarily close the Statesville Avenue Emergency Shelter on July 2 and open a 130-bed shelter inside a motel. The temporary move will limit the spread of the coronavirus.
While the City of Cleveland and Cuyahoga County have established rental assistance programs with about $17 million available in total aid, advocates fear this will be insufficient to meet the demand. The Cleveland Municipal Court’s Housing Court reopened on June 15, and at least 352 additional new eviction cases were filed that week. An attorney with the Ohio Poverty Law Center says that local rent relief programs, like those in Cuyahoga County, need additional state or federal funds to prevent a wave of evictions.
The Oregon Legislature passed House Bill 4213 on June 26, extending the state’s eviction moratorium for residential and commercial properties until September 30. Under H.B. 4213, renters have until March 31, 2021 to pay past-due rent. Governor Kate Brown expressed support for the bill.
The Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA) opened applications for the new rental and mortgage assistance program on June 29. The $150 million rent relief program is funded through the Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF).
Providence announced nearly $1 million for eviction legal defense and emergency housing assistance. The program will be funded through $769,756 of Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG-CV), $170,000 in Community Development Block Grant - Coronavirus (CDBG-CV) funds, and $300,000 from the Providence Housing Trust Fund.
Harris County and the City of Houston launched on June 30 a $56 million initiative to address homelessness. The Community-wide COVID-19 Housing Program (CCHP) aims to find permanent housing for 5,000 people experiencing homelessness over the next two years to limit the spread of the virus. Houston dedicated $29 million and Harris County allocated $18 million to the initiative, using federal funding allocated through the CARES Act. Learn more about the CCHP.
Texas Housers, an NLIHC state partner, released a report that found that Texas rent relief programs are failing to target low-income residents, the population most susceptible to evictions and homelessness.
The Texas Tribune reports that legal groups are expanding services and establishing special hotlines to assist tenants who are beginning to receive eviction notices. The Texas legal system is landlord-friendly, suggesting that tenants impacted by COVID-19 will have little legal defense.
The Vermont Digger examines life inside the South Burlington Holiday Inn, which is temporarily housing people experiencing homelessness amid the pandemic. Vermont is now working on plans to transition the hundreds of people who have been temporarily staying in hotels.
Thousands of Virginia renters may soon face eviction for being unable to pay July rent or for failing to pay rent for April, May, or June. Virginia is assembling a $50 million rent relief program, but advocates fear that this will not meet the demand. Governor Ralph Northam is calling for circuit courts to extend bans on evictions after the Virginia Supreme Court declined to extend the moratorium beyond June 28.
Survey data reveal that nearly one in five Seattle-area renters doubt they can afford July rent.
Washington, DC officials will fence off Franklin Square to begin a year-long renovation of the park, displacing approximately 20 people experiencing homelessness. Weeks of street protests and COVID-19 have disrupted the city’s homeless services, and advocates are concerned that clearing Franklin Square will worsen conditions for the people residing there.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention