days hours minutes seconds until tens of millions of renters could lose their homes when the federal eviction moratorium ends. Learn more.

Additional Coronavirus Updates - November 16, 2020

National Updates   

Federal Housing Finance Administration

FHFA announced on November 12 that the current temporary policy allowing for the purchase of certain single-family mortgages in forbearance that meet specific eligibility criteria as set by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac has been extended through December 31, 2020.

Reporting

CNET discusses the CDC national eviction moratorium, highlighting the steps renters must take to receive protection under the order. The article also provides a list of resources for tenants facing financial hardship, including NLIHC’s state and local rental assistance database.

Multi-Housing News discusses growing concerns about the future of rental payments and advocates’ calls for significant federal rental assistance to prevent mass evictions and protect the nation’s rental housing system. “There is an opening now for a COVID-19 relief package before the end of the year,” said NLIHC President and CEO Diane Yentel. “It will be difficult to get done and at the level we all know is needed…but the door has been opened and it’s a possibility.”

CNBC’s Make It discusses housing experts’ concerns about a tsunami of evictions that will occur if Congress fails to pass another relief package that includes rental assistance and an extended moratorium. The article highlights NLIHC research estimating that $100 billion in emergency rental assistance is needed to prevent an eviction crisis.

An article in Live Science discusses findings from a new study indicating that preventing evictions could play a critical role in controlling the COVID-19 pandemic. Across a wide set of scenarios, researchers found that evictions could lead to significant increases in coronavirus infections.

BBC discusses the results of a new research study posted in EClinical Medicine, which found that Black people are twice as likely as white people to catch the coronavirus. The findings also indicate Asian people are 1.5 times more likely than white people to be infected and may be more likely to need intensive care. The lead researcher notes that ethnic minorities are more likely to experience certain risk factors for coronavirus, including living in multigenerational housing.

The Columbia Journalism Review interviewed Matthew Desmond, Pulitzer Prize-winning author and principal investigator of Princeton University’s Eviction Lab, about our country’s existing eviction crisis and Eviction Lab’s COVID-19 Tracker.

An article in the November issue of the Princeton Alumni Weekly discusses scholars’ warnings that without eviction moratoriums, the U.S. will face a tsunami of evictions.

State and Local News

A list of state and local emergency rental assistance programs is available here from NLIHC.

California

The Los Angeles Times reports that several members of the LA City Council have asked the city to examine the feasibility of using the Los Angeles Convention Center, which has been vacant during the pandemic, to shelter people experiencing homelessness.

Florida

Tallahassee’s newest homeless shelter will open on November 20 amid a dire need for additional shelter as more people are experiencing homelessness due to COVID-19. City Walk Urban Mission’s shelter will house 100 emergency shelter cots and feature a short-term stay wing.

Florida Today reports 18th Circuit Chief Judge Lisa Davidson is seeking attorneys to support veterans facing eviction who are in dire need of free legal services.

Kentucky

The Kentucky Housing Corporation reports that Governor Andy Beshear designated $15 million in federal CARES Act funds for the Healthy at Home Utility Relief Fund, which provides utility assistance to low-income households.

Maryland

According to Matt Hill of the Public Justice Center, 451 families in Baltimore City have been evicted by landlords and the court during the pandemic. As the city braces for a surge of eviction actions due to the pandemic, the Public Justice Center and allies in the Baltimore Renters United coalition urge legislators to establish the right to counsel for tenants in eviction cases. Learn more.

Massachusetts

Fifty-three Massachusetts property owners and operators signed the “Eviction Diversion Pledge,” making a commitment to keep over 57,000 tenants and families safely housed. The signers of the pledge promise to abide by and support the current CDC eviction moratorium, proactively engage with residents and create payment plans, support and accept rental assistance payments, promote rent adjustments for Section 8/Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program families, and encourage structured and interactive mediation.

Shelterforce explores how Massachusetts' legislators allowed the statewide eviction moratorium, which was one of the strongest moratoriums in the county, to expire just in time for winter.

Minnesota

The Star Tribune reports the number of veterans experiencing homelessness in Minnesota has increased amid the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Andy Garvais, director of veterans’ programs for the Veterans Affairs Department, Minnesota is trying to find approximately 450 housing units for veterans experiencing homelessness.

Missouri

St. Louis Circuit Judge Rex Burlison issued an order on November 6 extending an eviction moratorium through December 31. The judge stated the extension is necessary to keep people stably housed and give city officials more time to process housing assistance applications.

Nebraska

The eight development districts in Nebraska have CARES Act funds available to landlords who have documented financial loss due to the COVID-19 pandemic and rent to low-to-moderate income tenants. Landlords can request up to $2,400 for lost rent or utility payments as a result of the pandemic.

Nevada

The COVID-19 pandemic and economic fallout have created additional challenges for veterans in the Las Vegas Valley, including illness, homelessness, depression, and eviction.

New Hampshire

The mayors of New Hampshire’s 13 cities sent a letter to Governor Chris Sununu urging him to create an updated blueprint for reducing homelessness. The mayors highlighted how the pandemic has impacted homelessness services in their cities and expressed concern for the safety of people experiencing homelessness given the upcoming winter and ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The Concord Monitor reports Concord’s homeless shelters are reducing capacity due to coronavirus, raising concerns that the city will not have enough shelter beds this winter. These reductions come as many fear there will be an increased demand for housing and shelter when the federal eviction moratorium expires at the end of the year.

New Jersey

Montclair housing and homeless advocates are preparing for the upcoming winter, anticipating greater need due to the pandemic and economic recession. Advocates are predicting a wave of evictions once Governor Phil Murphy’s executive order prohibiting evictions is lifted.

North Carolina

The City of Asheville will allocate nearly $900,000 in COVID-19 relief funds toward stopping evictions and helping residents impacted by the pandemic pay their rent.

A story co-published by NC Health News, the Charlotte Post, and the Charlotte Observer finds that housing instability poses an even greater risk for personal and community health during the pandemic. The article examines the connection between Charlotte’s affordable housing crisis and the pandemic’s disproportionate impact on people of color.

Ohio

The DeWine Administration announced the Home Relief Grant Program, which offers assistance to Ohioans who are behind on their rent, mortgage, and/or water bills. The program is funded with $50 million from the federal Coronavirus Relief Fund.

Oregon

Oregon legislators on November 9 committed $35 million to the purchasing and converting hotels into emergency homeless shelters, two weeks after the same proposal failed. These funds are not intended for use in areas impacted by the wildfire; the Emergency Board approved $30 million to those communities for this purpose on October 23.

The Register-Guard reports that unhoused individuals in Lane County have few places to go amid the upcoming winter and ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The article examines how the pandemic has impacted shelter operations and efforts to meet the needs of people experiencing homelessness during the pandemic and devastating wildfires.

Pennsylvania

The Philadelphia Municipal Court on November 6 issued an order halting most evictions through the end of 2020. The court order came after weeks of negotiations over a package of bills that would have offered the same tenant protections.

The Housing Initiative at Penn (HIP) released a research brief, “COVID-19 and Rent Relief: Understanding the Landlord Side,” based on a survey of over 600 property owners in Philadelphia whose tenants applied for state or local COVID-19 rental assistance (see NLIHC Memo, 11/9).

WHYY reports that hundreds of thousands of Philadelphia households face utility shutoffs as unemployment rates soars and coronavirus infections surge. A PECO spokesperson stated there were more than 325,000 customers with outstanding balance as of November 11.

Texas

Join Texas Housers’ next COVID-19 response call on November 17 at 1:30 pm ET. This month’s session will address rent relief. The panelists, including NLIHC Senior Research Analyst Rebecca Yae, will discuss what is and is not working with COVID-19 rent relief programs. RSVP for the Facebook Live event here.

Vermont

VTDigger examines how Vermont’s allocation of CARES Act funds could yield long-term, sustainable benefits for Vermonters experiencing homelessness and housing insecurity.

Washington

The Seattle Times reports that King County in partnership with the city of Seattle is opening a homeless shelter that will house nearly 300 people. According to Leo Flor, director of King County’s Department of Community and Human Services, the shelter will be able to house individuals temporarily residing in hotels when federal coronavirus relief expires at the end of the year.

Cowlitz County homeless service providers are bracing for a sharp increase in evictions when the statewide eviction moratorium expires at the end of the year.

Despite Washington’s statewide eviction moratorium, renters continue to be evicted amid the pandemic. Nearly 40 people were evicted through the King County court system in October.

Guidance

Department of Housing and Urban Development

New Resources for Distressed Cities Technical Assistance (DCTA) Recipients and Smaller Distressed Communities – November 6