Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
As part of the CDBG CARES (CDBG-CV) Act Webinar Series, HUD will hold a webinar on November 17 from 1-2:30 pm ET on co-managing the CDBG Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) and CDBG-CV programs. Learn more here.
Advocacy and Research
The University of California at Berkeley’s Urban Displacement Project developed a Housing Precarity Risk Model that estimates which communities across 53 metropolitan areas with populations larger than one million people have the highest risk of post-pandemic eviction, displacement, and long-term poverty. The website includes an interactive map, highlights several key results, and outlines post-pandemic policy recommendations.
The Treasury Department says federal emergency rental assistance (ERA) has prevented a surge of evictions, the Associated Press reports. NLIHC President and CEO Diane Yentel points to the most recent Treasury data as “evidence of improved program administration in some communities,” but notes the threat of mass evictions still looms. “Many other communities still lag behind – they need to quickly improve programs and get emergency rental assistance to tenants who need it to stay stably housed,” said Diane.
HuffPost reports that despite delays in distribution, the Biden administration says Treasury’s Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) program has helped to prevent a wave of evictions.
NPR’s Morning Edition examines how eviction filings continue to rise sharply in areas with no COVID-related renter protections. According to the Eviction Lab, eviction filings have increased nationally each month since the federal eviction moratorium was invalidated at the end of August. Officials and advocates say federal rent relief has played a significant role in preventing a catastrophic wave of evictions.
The Washington Post reports the amount of emergency rent relief reaching tenants and landlords increased slightly from August to September, but some state and local programs have continued to neglect Treasury’s best practices. “There’s no question that the 2 million payments [so far], and the path to 3.5 million payments in 2021, is making a meaningful difference in preventing the feared surge in evictions, but it is still not good enough,” said Gene Sperling, senior advisor the president.
According to Go Banking Rates, some renters are being evicted while awaiting federal emergency rental assistance (ERA). A family of four in Texas was evicted by their landlord who received assistance from the Texas Rent Relief program. The landlord claimed they never received the funds and evicted the family when the ban was lifted in October. ERA programs across the country, including the Los Angeles County Development Authority, say landlords refusing to accept assistance is a significant barrier to distributing aid.
Yahoo! Finance reports rental rates are sharply rising across the country at the same time many emergency renter protections and relief have expired.
State and Local News
Many Alabama renters at risk of eviction report barriers to accessing aid through the state’s rental assistance program, and housing advocates say the Emergency Rental Assistance Alabama program lacks the capacity to distribute aid in a timely manner. The Alabama Housing Finance Authority partnered with Legal Services Alabama to create the Imminent Eviction Prevention Initiative in June, which allows for expedited processing of rental assistance applications.
A website launched last year to help Arizona tenants find rental assistance and legal aid – AZevictionhelp.org – has helped over 100,000 people. The website uses targeted advertising on social media to reach people who live in zip codes where many people are rent-burdened.
Homeless service providers in Phoenix report an increased demand for services, largely due to the end of the federal eviction moratorium and the region’s worsening affordable housing crisis. Providers report seeing significant increases in first-time homelessness.
The Napa Valley Register reports about 1,600 households in Napa County are at risk for eviction due to the pandemic. Many households have faced language or technology access issues in applying for California’s rental assistance program. Fair Housing Napa Valley is a local program that identifies and engages difficult-to-reach households and helps them navigate the state’s lengthy application for rent relief. While the number of applications has increased significantly over the past several months, payouts are still lagging.
The Delaware State Housing Authority (DSHA) launched a Community Navigation Program, which will make up to $5 million in Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) program funding available to ERA-eligible households to maintain or obtain housing. Of these funds, $1 million will support rapid rehousing, $1 million for homelessness diversion, and $3 million for homelessness prevention and intervention. DSHA will host a public information session about the Community Navigation Program on Monday, November 8 at 1 pm ET.
According to the Georgia Recorder, nonprofit organizations working to keep Georgia renters in their homes say their efforts are being hindered by the inefficiency of the state’s rental assistance program and the lag time between application and response. The Georgia Department of Community Affairs plans to submit a performance improvement plan to the Department of Treasury by November 15 after the state’s program failed to meet the federal ERA expenditure deadline.
The next round of the Illinois Rental Payment Program (ILRPP2) administered by the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) will open for applications from November 8 to December 5, 2021. Housing Action Illinois is working with IHDA to hold an in-depth tutorial on the online application process for ILRPP2 on November 17 from 3:30-5:00 pm CT.
The Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority (IHCDA) will accept applications from renters in all 92 counties for the Indiana Supreme Court’s Eviction Diversion Program. Landlords and renters who choose to participate in the program can select from two options: to participate through IHCDA or their local emergency rental assistance program, if applicable. All available programs in Indiana are accessible through IndianaHousingNow.org.
An op-ed in the Des Moines Register calls for improved data on evictions, arguing that the data currently available make it difficult to identify landlords involved in eviction cases. Eviction data can help advocates understand where housing instability is taking place, identify and correct systemic causes of evictions, and coordinate the proactive delivery of emergency rent relief. Iowa Legal Aid found that 40% of the evictions filed in one week in Polk County violated either the state or federal moratorium in place at that time, or both.
Last month, Team Kentucky Health at Home Eviction Relief Fund (HHERF) disbursed $18.2 million in federal emergency rental assistance (ERA), an 87% increase over September’s numbers. Team Kentucky has used $119 million or 45% of its overall grant, leaving $128 million in ERA available to tenants and landlords.
As winter approaches, Michigan housing advocates and officials are concerned that a reported decrease in homelessness is misleading or temporary due to short-term COVID-19 relief. Eric Hufnagel, executive director of the Michigan Coalition Against Homelessness, points to pandemic-related protections and resources as contributing to the reported drop in homelessness rates statewide. Advocates are highlighting the need to increase access to temporary housing and permanent affordable housing.
Weeks after the federal eviction moratorium ended, Plymouth-based Interfaith Outreach and Community Partners is seeing an increased demand for rental assistance and other financial needs. Officials expect the number of people seeking assistance to continue to rise.
Missouri is at risk of losing millions in federal emergency rental assistance (ERA) because it has awarded only 18% of the $323.7 million in ERA1 funds it received, as of September 30. Compared to the city of St. Louis, which has spent 57% of its ERA1 allocation, St. Louis County has spent 71%, as of September 30. Localities continue to spend their ERA1 funding more quickly than states.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports that despite having distributed more than $214 million in emergency rental assistance (ERA), Nevada’s CARES Housing Assistance Program (CHAP) remains overwhelmed by incredible demand for aid. Tenants continue to face a complicated application process, uncertainty over the status of their applications, and long wait times.
Evictions are on the rise in Craven County, with 2,000 households – including 2,600 children – at risk for eviction. Eviction rates in the county coupled with the lack of affordable housing are causing a shift in Craven County’s homeless population.
Multnomah County launched a public awareness campaign in late September to spread the word about available emergency rental assistance (ERA). The county has sent text messages to 380,000 residents, initiated social media ads, mailed postcards to every residential mailbox in the county, and run television, radio, and newspaper ads. The campaign has conducted targeted outreach to communities of color, including by translating ERA materials into multiple languages and running advertisements on culturally specific media.
An op-ed in the Oregonian urges Governor Kate Brown to call a special session of the legislature to extend protections for renters while their applications for rental assistance are processed. The authors highlight that addressing the looming eviction crisis is a matter of racial equity, given that evictions and displacement further exacerbate the systemic disparities that have long impacted people of color and the lowest-income people.
Spotlight PA reports that across Pennsylvania’s 67 counties, each emergency rental assistance (ERA) program has different rules and requirements, resulting in uneven outcomes. Many tenants and landlords remain unaware of available assistance, and in most counties, local judges are not required to delay proceedings if a tenant has submitted an ERA application but is waiting for approval.
More than 5,000 households in Bucks and Montgomery counties have avoided eviction due to federal emergency rental assistance, but housing and legal advocates are concerned that could soon change dramatically. Both counties’ local moratoriums expired on October 31, and Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court said it will not approve an extension.
Axios Dallas reports eviction filings have been on the rise in North Texas after the end of COVID-19 eviction moratoriums. While more than 500,000 Texans behind on rent report they may be evicted within the next two months, Texas Republicans have proposed using federal COVID-19 aid to send $525 stimulus checks to homeowners. Renters, who make up 38% of Texas households, would not receive the stimulus payments.
Governor Jay Inslee allowed the last of his COVID-related eviction protections to expire at the end of the month. Tenant advocates urged Governor Inslee to extend protections, highlighting that many renters are still behind on rent and face barriers to accessing ERA.
Tenants facing eviction across Washington state have a new right to free legal representation. Spokane County has certified its eviction resolution program and the right to counsel program, two requirements the state legislature enacted earlier this year. Advocates, including the Tenants Union of Washington, say tenants are often unaware of these new protections and their rights.
Advocates and officials say King County’s Eviction Protection Rental Assistance Program will have thousands of open applications after Washington state’s eviction moratorium bridge expires on October 31. The county is opening a pop-up resource center to help people apply for aid, conducting outreach in other languages, and partnering with 40 community organizations to reach households most at risk of eviction. The program has received 10,000 new applications in the last five weeks, and administrators expect there will be about 12,000 applications eligible for aid after the moratorium bridge expires, not including new applicants.
Members of the D.C. Council introduced a resolution on October 28 calling on Mayor Muriel Bowser and the U.S. Treasury to boost funding to prevent evictions in the District. STAY DC, the city’s rental assistance program, ran out of federal funds. The resolution asks Treasury to quickly provide DC with additional funds and urges Mayor Bowser to tap into local funds to prevent an imminent eviction crisis.