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 23, 2020

National Updates     

Federal Housing Finance Administration

FHFA announced on November 13 that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will extend several loan origination flexibilities through December 31.

Reporting

NLIHC President and CEO Diane Yentel joined Tonya Mosley on NPR’s Here and Now to discuss the urgent housing crisis, how we got here, and what the federal government must do to prevent a tsunami of evictions this winter. “The eviction crisis that we’re facing is not only entirely predictable, it’s completely preventable,” said Diane Yentel, “but preventing it requires that Congress and the White House act to implement new protections and provide new resources.”

The Washington Post reports on the challenges local governments face in distributing federal Coronavirus Relief Fund dollars into the hands of people and communities with the greatest needs.

The Washington Post reports that without congressional action, 12 million Americans will lose unemployment insurance at the end of the year. The national eviction moratorium also expires on December 31, causing significant concern that many jobless Americans could become homeless.

Despite the CDC eviction moratorium, thousands of evictions are occurring across the country, according to MarketWatch. The article reports that a single mother of three children in North Carolina was evicted despite seeking protections under the federal moratorium. Lawyers at Legal Aid of North Carolina state that politically appointed magistrates, who rule on eviction cases, have disregarded the federal and state moratoriums.

State and Local News

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

Arizona

Despite federal eviction protections, landlords have continued to evict metro Phoenix renters during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to an investigation by the Arizona Republic, part of the USA Today Network, more than 900 evictions were filed against tenants who should have been protected by the CARES Act.

The City of Chandler is investing more funding in eviction prevention services to help prevent a surge in homelessness when the CDC moratorium expires at the end of the year. Experts predict a 30-40% increase in the number of people experiencing homelessness in Maricopa County.

Arkansas

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports that less than a week after its launch, organizers of Arkansas’ largest rental assistance program added a disclaimer to its website that the program’s systems, including email responses, may be delayed due to high demand. The announcement is indicative of what housing advocates and providers continue to say: the need for rental assistance is far greater than available resources.

California

According to a Federal Reserve study, California’s back rent is projected to reach nearly $1.7 billion by the end of the year. Nearly 240,000 renter households in California have fallen behind on rent, with an average debt of $6,953 per household.

Dozens of elderly residents in a West Sacramento mobile home park are facing homelessness after receiving eviction notices from property management. The Westwinds Estates, a mobile home park that primarily serves lower-income and senior residents, sent more than 50 homes eviction notices on October 30 for apparent health and safety violations.

Governor Gavin Newsom announced an emergency allocation of $62 million in one-time funds from the state’s Disaster Response Emergency Operations Account to help counties continue providing housing to current Project Roomkey participants. Of the total allocation, $24 million will support ongoing Project Roomkey operations, $35 million will be used to develop and implement rehousing plans, and $3 million for technical assistance.

Desert Sun reports on the new funding allocated by Governor Newsom to continue sheltering individuals residing in Project Roomkey hotels who were going to be forced from hotels by the end of the year. According to a Desert Sun analysis from mid-October, only 5% of Project Roomkey clients have found a permanent home.

U.S. District Judge Dean Pregerson denied a request by Southern California’s largest landlord organization for a preliminary injunction to immediately halt Los Angeles’ eviction ban and rent freeze. According to the court ruling, the judge found that while some landlords are facing financial hardships, their interests must “yield precedence to the vital interests of the public as a whole.”

San Francisco officials announced they intend to reverse a policy change that would have left homeless shelter residents with fewer protections from eviction. The former shelter grievance policy, which allows residents to formally challenge complaints or evictions from shelters, will remain and will be extended to residents of shelter-in-place hotels.

Colorado

Dozens of families who were living at a Ramada Inn in Englewood are now facing homelessness after the hotel announced it is permanently closing.

Florida

Financial assistance and legal protections for Palm Beach County residents facing eviction are ending as advocates warn of a looming eviction and foreclosure crisis. There have been more than 3,000 eviction notices filed in Palm Beach County since April. The Palm Beach County Community Services Department stopped accepting applications for the limited CARES Act rental assistance program this week.

The Gainesville Sun editorial board discusses the urgent need for more affordable housing and support for people who become homeless, especially as housing needs increase due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Illinois

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker announced on November 13 he was extending a host of pandemic-related executive orders for another 30 days, including an extension of the state's eviction moratorium. Governor Pritzker changed the eviction moratorium to be closer to the federal moratorium. Under the new eviction moratorium, tenants must sign a form declaring that they meet certain qualifications.

While Evanston is taking steps to prevent the looming wave of evictions when state and federal moratoriums expire in December, the city’s top housing official, tenants’ rights advocates, and local nonprofit leaders are concerned about the size and scope of the impending crisis.

Chicago homeless shelters are grappling with COVID-19 safety measures as colder temperatures creep in and coronavirus cases increase.

Indiana

The Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority posted its COVID-19 Rental Assistance progress report, which provides information on the state’s COVID-19 Rental Assistance Program and the Emergency Solutions Grant CARES Act (ESG-CV) rental assistance program.

Maryland

An op-ed in the Capital Gazette addresses Maryland’s looming eviction crisis. The op-ed discusses how landlords are using various loopholes to evict tenants despite the federal moratorium and cites comments from NLIHC’s Diane Yentel.

Amid surging coronavirus cases and colder temperatures, Baltimore Mayor Jack Young’s office announced it will be dismantling an encampment that houses about 30 individuals by November 19. The encampment sweep is occurring as the city plans to move out the approximately 400 people temporarily residing in hotels by the end of December. The city’s Office of Homeless Services announced they are working to ensure shelters meet federal CDC guidelines for congregate living, but medical experts argue that returning residents to shelters during the winter could lead to significant increases in infection and death among individuals who are homeless.

Massachusetts

The Boston Globe examines public health officials’ fears that evictions could worsen Massachusetts’ surge in coronavirus cases. Massachusetts’ eviction moratorium expired on October 17, and doctors, epidemiologists, and housing advocates are concerned that mass evictions may heighten the rise in coronavirus cases.

Advocates are concerned that many families experiencing homelessness in Massachusetts are struggling to access state aid during the pandemic. A GBH News review of state records found a significant decrease in the number of families living in, and applying to, state-sponsored shelters or other emergency housing. Advocates point to this as a sign that families are falling through the system’s cracks.

The Boston Globe reports on the intertwined COVID-19 and housing crises facing the city of Chelsea. A July report by the Boston Foundation found that Chelsea had Massachusetts’ highest rate of overcrowded housing and COVID-19 infections.

Boston Mayor Martin Walsh on November 14 signed the Housing Stability Notification Act, an ordinance ensuring Bostonians facing eviction know their rights and have access to critical information on available resources. Property owners and constables must provide tenants a document containing information on tenant rights and resources when issuing tenants a Notice to Quit or Nonrenewal of Lease.

Michigan

The Holland Sentinel discusses how the coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated the health and safety issues facing people experiencing homelessness.

Nevada

The Nevada Independent reports the federal eviction moratorium is not preventing all evictions in Nevada. Governor Steve Sisolak allowed the state’s moratorium to expire in mid-October, stating that the CDC moratorium would be enough to protect families. Despite the CDC order, however, evictions are continuing to occur.

New Hampshire

New Hampshire state officials posted a 10-day notice on November 6 that dozens of people residing in an encampment on the lawn of the Hillsborough County courthouse must leave on November 15. The evictions come as the only emergency shelter in the city is at or near its 107-bed capacity most nights. While Governor Chris Sununu insists that state outreach workers are in Manchester daily to discuss shelter options for people experiencing homelessness, the city’s fire chief reports not seeing any state presence.

New York

The New York Times reports on the benefits experienced by the men who have been residing at the Lucerne Hotel, a hotel-turned-shelter, during the pandemic. A Manhattan Supreme Court justice on November 16 will decide whether the men residing at the Lucerne Hotel in the Upper West Side will be allowed to stay or must be moved to a Radisson Hotel in the Financial District.

Judge Debra James upheld a temporary restraining order preventing New York City from men residing at the Lucerne to a different hotel. The judge will rule on Monday whether the men can continue to stay at the hotel.

A historic Midtown hotel will be converted into a permanent shelter for families experiencing homelessness next month. The former Renwick Hotel will become an adult family shelter serving 170 families experiencing homelessness without minor children.

Judge Debra James upheld a temporary restraining order preventing New York City from moving men experiencing homelessness who have been residing at the Lucerne to a different hotel. The judge will rule on Monday whether the men can continue to stay at the hotel.

An op-ed in the New York Daily News written by two state representatives outlines why the New York Legislature must enact real rent relief. The proposed legislation includes establishing an inclusive rental assistance program and enacting an eviction and foreclosure moratorium for the duration of the pandemic and one year after.

North Carolina

The Mountaineer discusses North Carolina’s looming eviction crisis. The state’s nearly $170 million rental assistance program that launched about a month ago has already run out of funds. Officials announced on November 11 that the rental assistance program is now closed.

Ohio

Just days after the Akron Municipal Court postponed all eviction hearings until January 1 due to a COVID-19 exposure in the Harold K. Stubbs Justice Center, the court reversed course and announced it will resume some virtual eviction hearings. Akron advocates are concerned that an overwhelming number of evictions will be filed in January when the CDC moratorium expires.

Dayton 24/7 Now reports that the CDC eviction moratorium is not protecting all tenants, as local nonprofits struggle to meet the overwhelming demand for assistance. Ohio’s local courts are responsible for enforcing the eviction moratorium, resulting in significant variations in how the CDC order is interpreted and enforced between counties.

Oklahoma

Tulsa World reports on eviction data indicating that anti-eviction efforts might be assisting middle-class renters more than tenants in Tulsa’s lowest-income neighborhoods. Officials are concerned about a tsunami of evictions that could hit Tulsa in the new year.

Oregon

With no federal relief in sight, the authors of an op-ed in Oregon Live urge state legislators to take immediate action to prevent a wave of mass displacement and homelessness this winter. The authors call attention to the dual impact of COVID-19 and wildfire displacement on low-income residents in Southern Oregon.

Project Turnkey, an Oregon initiative to purchase hotels and motels to convert into transitional and permanent housing, is moving forward in Jackson County. While the program is state-funded, the goal is for local communities to develop initiatives that address their unique needs.

Pennsylvania

The Public Source discusses the long-term, harmful impacts of eviction beyond displacement. The pandemic has created additional barriers to renters searching for housing with an eviction record. Democratic legislators in Harrisburg have proposed legislation to expunge or seal eviction records to address the collateral consequences of evictions.

Texas

At a city-hosted panel on November 19 to discuss homelessness outreach efforts, Austin homeless advocates shared concerns about the impending eviction crisis and called for more investments in affordable housing

Virginia

Fairfax County formed an eviction prevention task force to collect and analyze data on evictions in the county. This data will then be used to direct resources and guide recommendations for future actions.

Washington DC

The Washington Post reports that after eight months, D.C. public schools reopened buildings for more than 400 students – most of whom are homeless, speak English as a second language, or have special-education needs – who will continue with virtual learning under the supervision of non-teaching staff. The principal of Bancroft Elementary School reports that many of the families are facing eviction.

The District is expanding its hotel accommodations for individuals experiencing homelessness who are at greater risk of contracting the coronavirus. The Department of Human Services began moving clients into a third Pandemic Emergency Program for Highly Vulnerable Individuals (PEP-V) site. FEMA is reimbursing DC for the PEP-V program at the typical 75% cost-share.

Wisconsin

While the Milwaukee County Eviction Prevention Program has helped prevent 1,730 potential evictions so far, the program is running out of funds. Additional federal funding is needed to maintain critical assistance programs.

Guidance

Department of Housing and Urban Development

CDC Eviction Moratorium: FAQs for HUD’s Office of Public and Indian Housing – Updated November 18

Office of Native American Housing Programs: Tenant Flyer for the CDC Order

COVID-19 Homeless System Response: Staff Capacity: Considerations for Scaling Up

COVID-19 Homeless System Response: HMIS Project Setup and Inventory Changes During an Infectious Disease Outbreak – Updated November 13

COVID-19 Homeless System Response: Serving Survivors through Coordinated Entry

COVID-19 Homeless System Response: Holistic Investment Planning for State ESG Entitlements and Balance of State CoCs

COVID-19 Homeless System Response: Winter Planning Resources