Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) released a report on September 17 warning that millions of renters and their families may suffer previously avoided economic harms of the COVID-19 pandemic as federal and state relief programs end. The report confirms that, compared to homeowners, renters are more likely to be Black or Latino, and women, and to have lower incomes. Read the CFPB press release and report.
Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
HUD’s Office of Multifamily Programs announced on September 16 that it is opening a new application period for owners of multifamily properties receiving project-based rental assistance under the Section 8, Section 202, or Section 811 programs to apply for more than $180 million in supplemental operating funds to support expenses for protecting residents and staff from COVID-19.
Department of Treasury
The U.S. Department of the Treasury on September 16 released a report on the first six months of the department’s implementation of the American Rescue Plan. Since the law was enacted, Treasury has disbursed approximately $700 billion of the $1 trillion in programs administered by Treasury, including over 1 million Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) payments totaling more than $5 billion. Read the press release and report.
Treasury Deputy Secretary Wally Adeyemo published a blog post on September 17 outlining the department’s work to center racial equity in its first six months of implementing the American Rescue Plan.
The Associated Press reports Representative Cori Bush (D-MO) and Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) introduced the “Keeping Renters Safe Act of 2021” on September 21, legislation that would reimpose a national eviction moratorium amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. While the bill’s prospects are unclear, housing advocates – including NLIHC President and CEO Diane Yentel – say the moratorium was critical to keeping renters stably housed as they await emergency rental assistance.
USA Today and Forbes also report on the “Keeping Renters Safe Act of 2021,” legislation to amend section 361 of the Public Health Service Act to grant the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) permanent authority to enact federal eviction moratoriums to address public health crises.
Route-Fifty reports the Treasury Department will make the remaining $13 billion in emergency rental assistance (ERA) funds available to high-performing state and local grantees. At least 50 state and local government grantees have met the funding distribution benchmarks that make them eligible for the additional funds. The article highlights that NLIHC’s Diane Yentel testified before Congress on September 10 on reforms needed to expedite ERA distribution (see Memo, 9/13).
HuffPost reports some landlords would rather evict tenants than accept emergency rental assistance (ERA). The article links to a Twitter thread from NLIHC President and CEO Diane Yentel about landlords’ refusal to participate in the ERA program.
Aljazeera reports Goldman Sachs estimates that roughly 750,000 households could be evicted across the United States before the end of the year. Among many severe consequences, mass evictions could exacerbate the existing affordable housing crisis. The article cites findings from NLIHC’s The Gap report.
State and Local News
Maricopa County is launching a $2.6 million program to provide free legal aid to renters facing eviction during the pandemic. The program will be funded through the county’s American Rescue Plan Act Fiscal Recovery Fund allocation.
Many families in the Marshallese community in northwest Arkansas are behind on rent and facing eviction. The Marshallese Education Initiative is overwhelmed with rental assistance applications, noting that many people need help filling out the applications due to technological barriers.
The LA Times reports a state auditor warned Governor Gavin Newsom on September 16 that delays in California’s rent relief program raise concerns about the state’s ability to distribute the first $1.8 billion in federal funds by the September 30 deadline. The auditor’s warning aligns with housing advocates’ concerns about California’s slow rate of rent relief dispersal.
The Illinois Supreme Court on September 21 extended its order preventing certain judgments in covered eviction cases to October 3, aligning with Governor JB Pritzker’s latest executive order extending Illinois’ eviction moratorium.
After 80 tenants at Pleasant Valley Apartments in Ferguson received notices of eviction, Mayor Ella Jones pledged to connect them to emergency rental assistance (ERA) programs. According to local officials, some residents who received eviction notices may have already been approved for ERA from St. Louis County, but the payments have not been sent to the apartment complex because employees failed to submit the required tax documents.
An estimated 46,000 households are behind on rent across Nevada. The Nevada Independent reports that amid a shifting set of eviction guidelines, the fate of these households is being decided in virtual and in-person courtrooms. The state enacted legislation (AB486) to ensure households are not evicted while awaiting rental assistance, but given Nevada’s uniquely rapid and murky eviction process, the new law has created uncertainty for everyone involved in the process.
Due to a large backlog of rental assistance applications, Durham County will pause accepting applications on October 4. County officials say the pause is temporary and will last until the county can determine if there are enough funds to process existing applications.
NBC4’s consumer advocate series “Better Call 4” is partnering with Franklin County officials for a special event on September 28 to answer questions about rental assistance and evictions.
The Community Alliance of Tenants, a leading Oregon tenant group, is warning that the end of statewide eviction protections could lead to an eviction crisis if elected officials do not extend protections. Approximately 80% of the 35,000 households statewide that have completed applications for rental assistance have not yet been approved. A household’s protection from evictions, however, ends 60 to 90 days after they submit documentation of an application. For many households, the deadline will be this month.
The Charleston City Paper reports housing organizations and advocacy groups throughout South Carolina are seeing staggering numbers of renters at risk of eviction after the end of the federal eviction moratorium. Nearly 740,000 households in the state are behind on rent or report low confidence in their ability to pay rent.
The Seattle Times reports 60,000 Seattle-area renters are behind on rent, with most of those renters behind on multiple months’ worth of payments. Washington state’s eviction moratorium bridge is set to expire at the end of September. Housing groups are calling on Governor Jay Inslee to extend the moratorium bridge.
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan on September 21 extended the city’s eviction moratorium through January 15, 2022. When Seattle’s eviction moratorium expires in January 2022, a new ordinance enacted in May 2020 will take effect, providing renters a six-month period in which they can be protected from eviction if they can demonstrate financial hardship due to the pandemic.
Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)