Keywords: Covid-19, coronavirus, updates, state, local, news
Department of Agriculture
USDA announced on June 19 that it has extended the foreclosure and eviction moratorium for all Single Family Housing Guaranteed Loan Program loans through August 31, 2020.
Department of Health and Human Services
The Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration on Children and Families released strategies to support families experiencing homelessness and housing instability during the pandemic.
The NLIHC-led Disaster Housing Recovery Coalition continues 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.
The National Housing Law Project and the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials issued a two-page flyer for public housing and voucher residents to explain the CARES Act eviction moratorium.
The Urban Institute outlines policies and strategies to address material vulnerabilities faced by the Black LGBTQ community during COVID-19. The pandemic has had a marked impact on economic wellbeing, housing stability, homelessness rates, and shelter access for LGBTQ people of color.
National Journal examines advocates’ concerns that homelessness will surge across the country unless Congress takes immediate action. “What we’re seeing now is a crisis on top of a crisis. We had an affordable housing crisis in our country before COVID-19, and we will have it after COVID-19,” said NLIHC President and CEO Diane Yentel.
USA Today reports that although near-record unemployment rates and deep financial hardship persist, CARES Act relief funding is set to expire soon. “Back rent is coming due, and renters are no more able to pay it now than they were at the beginning of the crisis,” says NLIHC President and CEO Diane Yentel.
In an interview with Politico, former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro addresses the need for additional relief money: “Now the federal protection on some evictions runs out in late July. And unemployment benefits are going to run out. What we have to do about it is, number one, pass the HEROES Act, which has $100 billion in direct rental assistance.”
Emily Benfer, director of the Health Justice Advocacy Clinic at Columbia Law School, wrote an op-ed for NBC News about the wave of evictions that will sweep the country as the patchwork of temporary eviction moratoriums quickly expire.
The New York Times reports that nursing homes across the country are evicting vulnerable residents and directing them to homeless shelters, motels, and unsafe situations.
The COVID-19 Eviction Defense Project estimates that between 19 million and 23 million (one in five) of the 110 million Americans who rent are at risk of eviction by the end of September. Data indicate that geography and discrimination play significant roles in eviction rates.
BBC News examines why advocates and experts are expecting an unprecedented crush of evictions that will place millions of Americans at risk of homelessness.
NPR shines a light on eviction hearings taking place via Zoom. At a remote eviction hearing this week in Collin County, Texas, the court granted landlords the right to evict five people who did not or were unable to dial into the Zoom call.
Bloomberg CityLab explores how the Franklin County Municipal Court has converted the empty Columbus Convention Center into a housing court. The housing court now occupies a space that is at least four times as large as its space in the courthouse. The Greater Columbus Convention Center can also accommodate housing and legal aid organizations.
The New York Times examines the predicted surge of eviction cases in New York City as housing courts reopen. Housing advocates estimate that 50,000 to 60,000 cases could be filed in New York City’s housing courts in the coming days.
An op-ed in the Hill by Samantha Batko and Mychal Cohen of the Urban Institute warns of a looming eviction crisis as eviction moratoriums and supplemental unemployment benefits come to an end.
NPR reports that at least a dozen cities have ignored recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in recent months by continuing to sweep homeless encampments, risking further spread of the coronavirus.
Shelterforce examines how housing advocates and tenant organizing groups are preparing for the surge of evictions as moratoriums expire and housing court processes resume.
Next City discusses the Eviction Lab’s new eviction tracking system.
State and Local News
A list of state and local emergency rental assistance programs is available here from NLIHC.
On June 23, the Anchorage Assembly approved a $21.5 million COVID-19-related economic relief package that put an additional $2 million into the city’s rental and mortgage relief program launched last week. The city’s rental program is funded through the CARES Act. It was launched on the same day that the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation (AHFC) opened a two-week lottery for rental and mortgage aid. As of June 23, the AHFC received 5,083 applications for its $10 million rental and mortgage relief lottery program.
Anchorage officials have proposed spending up to $22.5 million in federal coronavirus relief funds to purchase four properties and convert them into homeless shelters and service sites.
Democratic lawmakers in Arizona are urging Governor Doug Ducey to extend the statewide eviction moratorium set to expire July 22. Lawmakers are concerned that rates of eviction and homelessness will surge, given that unemployment claims continue to increase, and state rental assistance has failed to arrive.
Since evictions resumed in Pima County June 1, 783 cases have been processed. According to a memorandum by a county administrator, an eviction order has been issued in approximately 75% of the cases.
The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority on June 23 released its full COVID-19 Recovery Plan for people experiencing homelessness. The plan outlines an ambitious goal to move 15,000 high-risk people experiencing homelessness quickly into permanent housing. The effort will include the 4,000 people who were provided temporary shelter through Project Roomkey. The program will cost $800 million, which includes approximately $600 million in new funding over the next three years and $200 million in costs that were already budgeted for the homeless service system.
The Los Angeles Times reports that Los Angeles County’s plan to lease hotel and motel rooms for 15,000 people experiencing homelessness is falling short of its goal. Officials have secured only 3,601 rooms, one-fourth of the number needed to shelter all who are eligible.
The Los Angeles City Council on June 23 approved a $100 million rent relief program, The program, funded through California’s allocation of federal CARES Act dollars, is expected to help nearly 50,000 families who have been impacted by COVID-19.
An editorial in the Los Angeles Times argues that while Los Angeles County’s $100 million rental assistance fund is an important first step, state legislators should take action on a proposed statewide rent relief plan and Congress must invest significant resources to ensure economic fallout from the pandemic does not devastate landlords, renters, and the housing market.
The Mercury News reports on how the coronavirus pandemic could exacerbate Black Californians’ housing crisis. Black households are disproportionately more likely to be cost burdened, and tenants’ rights groups fear that a wave of evictions is on the horizon.
The Los Angeles Times reports that some landlords are still trying to evict tenants by cutting off their utilities, locking them out of their homes, and deploying other illegal tactics.
Housing advocates are concerned that without rent relief, Oakland will experience a post-pandemic homelessness boom after the eviction moratorium expires on August 31.
The Santa Barbara City Council unanimously approved a plan to allocate 70% of its CARES Act funding for emergency rental assistance and 30% to provide social services. The city plans to distribute funds through a community organization.
A federal judge approved an agreement in which the city and county of Los Angeles will provide housing for nearly 7,000 people experiencing homelessness who live near freeways and those over 65 or vulnerable to the coronavirus. Los Angeles County will spend $300 million over five years to provide services, and the city will provide 6,000 new beds within ten months and an additional 700 beds over 18 months.
The city of Santa Rosa’s plans to remove up to 60 people living in encampments on underpasses of Highway 101 will begin only after Sonoma County health officials conduct coronavirus testing after the virus recently infiltrated the encampments.
Long Beach will begin accepting applications for its $5 million rental assistance program on July 13. The Long Beach Emergency Rental Assistance (LB CARES) program is funded through federal Community Development Block Grants.
The Greeley Tribune discusses disagreements between tenant and landlord groups about the best way to move forward after Governor Jared Polis’ most recent limited order to delay evictions expires July 13. “Right now, we are thinking 300,000 to 400,000 people face eviction risk in Colorado,” said Executive Director and Co-Founder of the COVID Eviction Defense Project Zach Neumann.
A $14 million statewide campaign to move approximately 1,800 people experiencing homelessness currently living in hotels and shelters into apartments by September is one of Connecticut’s biggest emergency housing initiatives. Connecticut will use federal funds to sign leases and move people into apartments. The Connecticut Department of Housing is also considering purchasing three or four hotels in foreclosure as emergency housing. After the COVID-19 pandemic ends, the properties could then be converted into permanent housing.
Governor Ron DeSantis announced on June 25 that the Florida Housing Finance Corporation will receive $250 million in CARES Act funding to help keep families stably housed. Of the total amount, $120 million will be used for rental and mortgage assistance, an additional $120 million will be used for rental assistance for residents in Florida Housing-funded developments, and $2 million will be used to assist with past and future costs in serving residents in supportive housing development.
On June 18, the Boise Rescue Mission homeless shelter went from no positive cases of the coronavirus to nine. The Interfaith Sanctuary shelter is seeing a similar trend.
The Chicago Sun-Times reported that despite the eviction ban, some Chicago landlords are using illegal lockouts and other threats to push tenants out of their homes. Advocates are concerned this is a sign that legal eviction filings will surge once Chicago’s housing court reopens.
A Chicago Sun-Times editorial urges federal intervention to prevent a tsunami of evictions, given the national scope of the issue and the limited ability of local governments to assist.
Governor Eric Holcomb announced on June 24 the creation of the Indiana COVID-19 Rental Assistance Program, a $25 million program funded through the CARES Act. Households impacted by the pandemic may receive rental assistance up to $500 per month for four months. Marion County has its own allocation of $15 million for rental assistance. Governor Holcomb also extended Indiana’s eviction moratorium through July.
The Hoosier Housing Needs Coalition applauded the eviction moratorium extension and the creation of the Indiana COVID-19 Rental Assistance Program. Advocates are urging Governor Eric Holcomb to establish a Rental Housing Stability Task Force to ensure that the assistance reaches people with the greatest needs.
The Homeless and Housing Coalition of Kentucky, an NLIHC state partner, estimates that more than 340,000 people in the state are at risk of eviction. The coalition sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell urging him to support emergency rental assistance and extend the federal eviction moratorium.
Most of the people experiencing homelessness who were temporarily housed at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center have moved back to other shelters or are now unsheltered.
Fair housing advocates in Louisiana fear there will be an avalanche of evictions, placing people at increased risk of contracting the coronavirus. “It is likely that we will be sending people into crowded courtrooms for eviction procedures, putting people at risk of going into crowded homeless shelters, which really could spark a second way of infections,” said Cashuana Hill, executive director of the Louisiana Fair Housing Action Center.
The Fair Action Housing Center of Maryland has seen a 400% increase in clients compared to last year, and advocates warn that high unemployment rates will almost certainly lead to a significant increase in eviction filings.
Governor Larry Hogan announced $30 million in federal CARES Act funding for eviction prevention. Maryland will allocate $20 million in expected federal Community Development Block Grant funding for rent relief. The additional $10 million will fund the Assisted Housing Relief Program, which will provide rent relief for units in multi-family projects financed by the DHCD’s Community Development Administration.
The first in a three-part series in Maryland Matters on life in Langley Park examines how the pandemic is exacerbating the area’s pre-existing housing crisis, and vice versa. Langley Park’s 19,517 residents live primarily in 13 apartment complexes that have long been considered overcrowded, substandard, and neglected.
An article in Banker and Tradesman argues that if federal coronavirus relief benefits are not extended, more tenants will be unable to pay rent, and owners of multifamily housing may lack the resources to operate housing. If these owners are unable to pay mortgages and operating costs, the financial health of these affordable housing properties and their ability to house residents is at risk.
In Brockton, large tents that were placed in Perkins Park in early April were removed, and approximately 60 individuals who were sheltered there were moved to the Rodeway Inn. The motel was rented by Father Bill’s and MainSpring and is being used as a shelter.
Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued Executive Order 2020-134 on June 26, extending Michigan’s eviction moratorium until July 15 and funding the Eviction Diversion Program. Under the executive order, $50 million of rental assistance will be made in lump-sum payments to landlords who forgive late fees and up to 10% of the amount due and allow tenants to remain in their homes. Tenants whose back rent is not completely covered by the Eviction Diversion Program will enter into manageable payment plans.
The Mississippi Home Corporation launched the Rental Assistance for Mississippians Program (RAMP), which will partner with several organizations to administer nearly $8 million in Emergency Solutions Grants - CV (ESG-CV). RAMP will provide homeless prevention services, including short-term rental assistance, rental arrears, and housing stability case management.
Governor Steve Sisolak signed Emergency Directive 025 on June 25, which will gradually lift the eviction moratorium. The directive allows residential evictions and foreclosures to resume on September 1 for non-payment of rents and no-cause evictions. The governor also announced a new $50 million rental assistance program funded through the Coronavirus Relief Fund, with $30 million for residential rental assistance and $20 million for commercial rental relief.
A Star-Ledger editorial addresses the urgent need for federal relief, including $100 billion in emergency rental assistance, to prevent a surge of evictions. The editorial calls attention to Republican leaders’ refusal to vote on the HEROES Act.
New Jersey advocates are concerned that business interests are being prioritized for pandemic relief over low-and middle-income residents. Advocates highlight ongoing concerns about housing, health care, and the urgent need to mitigate the pandemic’s disproportionate impact on Black and Latino communities.
An op-ed in the New York Daily News urges New York City to keep housing courts closed to prevent a surge in new nonpayment eviction cases. Instead, the authors urge federal and state lawmakers to establish a rental assistance program outside the court system to assistance tenants facing income losses pay arrears.
A report from the Community Service Society found that in New York, Black renter households face the greatest eviction risk as the moratorium expires. The group also found that Latinx tenants are at risk of increased eviction-related housing insecurity.
According to a report from the Citizens’ Committee for Children of New York, New York City neighborhoods with the highest rates of COVID-19 are expected to experience the highest levels of evictions and homelessness once the eviction moratorium expires in August.
Nearly 20% of New York City’s hotels are operating as temporary shelters for people experiencing homelessness. Of the more than 17,000 adults experiencing homelessness in the city’s shelter system, 13,000 currently reside in hotels.
Using a $500,000 grant from the Charlotte COVID-19 Response Fund, the non-profit Socialserve has distributed critical rental assistance to low-income households impacted by the pandemic. Socialserve collaborated with Charlotte Mecklenburg Housing Partnership to distribute $429,000 in rental assistance for 330 renter households. They also helped 30 individuals experiencing homelessness secure housing by paying a total $45,000 in upfront housing costs.
The Daily Record examines the added difficulties that the pandemic has created for people experiencing homelessness. Advocates, including the Coalition on Housing and Homelessness in Ohio (COHHIO), an NLIHC state partner, are urging federal and state officials to prioritize rental assistance.
Advocates and tenants are concerned about a potential rise in eviction filings in Portage County. The county’s eviction court never closed during the pandemic, and both tenants and landlords are concerned about an increase in evictions when federal supplemental unemployment insurance benefits expire at the end of July.
Marketplace examines Tulsa’s eviction crisis, which existed even before the pandemic. The Tulsa County courthouse reopened on June 1 with more than 1,200 eviction cases pending.
On June 19, Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt announced that the state is allocating $10 million in Coronavirus Relief Funds toward an eviction mitigation grant program. The program will reimburse organizations paying landlords for rental assistance to households impacted by COVID-19. The program will be administered through local non-profits.
The city of Eugene is considering locating a new homeless shelter in a facility that Lane County purchased for $1.8 million. The site will house people experiencing homelessness who have tested positive for or are suspected of having the coronavirus. The city council and county board of commissioners will meet within the next month to discuss the plan.
Eugene is considering “microsites” as a new means to provide temporary shelter during the pandemic. The first microsite is underway at Skinner City Farm and is managed by Community Supported Shelters.
With the unemployment rate in North Charleston now five times greater than pre-COVID levels and no eviction moratorium in place, advocates and tenants are concerned about a surge in evictions that could overwhelm the court system. The Charleston County Magistrate courts received 120 new eviction filings in the first two days after the moratorium was lifted.
Since Harris County’s ban on evictions ended on May 18, Harris County judges have awarded $637,500 in judgments to landlords in 387 cases filed during the eviction ban. An additional 2,188 hearings are scheduled in the coming weeks.
The Dallas City Council on June 24 approved an additional $10 million in federal funds to expand its rental and mortgage assistance program. The council also approved a $7.1 million program to help people experiencing homelessness find permanent housing.
Harris County distributed the first half of its $30 million Coronavirus Relief Fund dollars to 44 community-based organizations. These organizations will disperse the money for housing, utility, food, and childcare assistance to Harris County residents.
According to Texas Housers, Harris County has proceeded with eviction hearings behind closed doors during the pandemic. While some cities and counties in Texas issued eviction protections, Harris County did not issue a long-term eviction moratorium. Of the 3,652 evictions filed in Harris County between March 27 and June 22, at least 368 (approximately 10%) appear to be in violation of the CARES Act.
The Dallas Observer reported that 44% of the $13.7 million Dallas has distributed through its COVID-19 rental assistance program has gone to residents in the city’s wealthiest districts.
The Vermont House advanced the Broadband, Connectivity, and Housing Bill (H. 966) on June 19, bringing the total amount of Coronavirus Relief Funds appropriated by the House in the past week to nearly $1 billion. Combined with Senate Bill 350, which was signed by Governor Phil Scott on June 19, the Vermont Legislature has approved $91 million in federal coronavirus relief funds to address housing and homelessness.
A new report from the Center for Global Health Equity at Dartmouth, “COVID-19 and Rural Health Equity in Northern New England: Impacts on Health Equity,” revealed key strengths in the rural region’s response to the coronavirus. In a New Hampshire Public Radio interview, the authors discussed why the report focused on housing and what the study found concerning housing and homelessness. “We heard reports of the tremendous effort that was put into play to identify and also to house individuals who became homeless within the context of the pandemic, particularly in Vermont,” said Elizabeth Carpenter-Song, one of the report’s authors.
The Virginia Supreme Court issued an order on June 22, allowing courts to resume eviction hearings on June 29, the day after the state’s eviction ban expires. An additional order issued on June 22 permits courts immediately to resume eviction hearings unrelated to nonpayment of rent.
The executive director of the Thomas Jefferson Area Coalition for the Homeless hopes that the new funding sources created in response to COVID-19 will create opportunities for Charlottesville nonprofits to address the underlying causes of homelessness. The organization is considering purchasing a hotel to temporarily house people experiencing homelessness during the pandemic and then transition the property into permanent housing.
Pierce County granted the city of Puyallup and local nonprofits $461,834 in federal CARES Act funding, which will be used to provide sanitation and hygiene supplies for people experiencing homelessness and rental assistance to households on the brink of becoming homeless.
At least seven people living in an 18-unit public housing development in Washington, DC have tested positive for the coronavirus, and five of those individuals have died. The DC Housing Authority, which owns and manages the property, did not notify tenants.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Department of Housing and Urban Development
Non-Congregate Sheltering: Recommendations for Requests for Assistance - June 23 (included as a link in the Federal Funding Priority Order)
Department of Treasury
Coronavirus Relief Fund Frequently Asked Questions - Updated June 24
National Academy for State Health Policy