Department of Agriculture
The USDA on September 21 announced the extension of Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) flexibilities, ensuring WIC participants continue receiving the food and health support they need during the COVID-19 pandemic.
A blog post from the Brookings Institute discusses why federal rental assistance, in addition to the national eviction moratorium, is needed to protect the long-term housing of tenants and small landlords.
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities reports that new Census data show the wide gap between median renter income and median rent continued through 2019, highlighting that the housing affordability crisis existed before COVID-19. Policymakers must provide emergency rental assistance to help families struggling to pay rent in the current crisis and address the underlying affordability problem.
MarketWatch explores why the CDC eviction moratorium, without federal rental assistance, will not solve the looming eviction crisis. The article discusses why Congress must pass $100 billion in rental assistance and how these funds might be distributed. “The key is to get more funding into the hands of folks in the least bureaucratic way,” says NLIHC President and CEO Diane Yentel.
Time reports on the impact months of eviction uncertainty are having on millions of families’ mental health. The article highlights advocates’ calls for emergency rental assistance and long-term policy solutions to address our nation’s affordable housing crisis.
In an op-ed in the Washington Post, Alieza Durana and Anne Kat Alexander of Princeton’s Eviction Lab point to the spike in eviction filings between federal eviction moratoriums as a sign the eviction crisis will get much worse if Congress fails to pass rental assistance.
Knowable Magazine examines the life-altering impacts of evictions that extend far beyond the immediate loss of one’s home. Before COVID-19, millions of people received eviction notices each year, and this number is expected to increase due to the pandemic and its economic fallout.
In an op-ed in the Boston Globe, Emily Benfer, professor at Wake Forest University School of Law and co-creator of the COVID-19 Housing Policy Scorecard with the Eviction Lab, outlines the reality of the eviction crisis and urges policymakers to swiftly intervene to prevent a tidal wave of evictions.
CNBC compiled a list of resources for people struggling to pay their bills, including their rent and mortgage. The article includes a brief overview of the CDC moratorium, a link to NLIHC’s state and local rental assistance database, and additional resources for renters and homeowners.
A new poll of more than 3,000 people from NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health found nearly 1 out of 5 respondents reported struggling to pay rent and mortgage. The poll found Black and Latino households were twice as likely as white families to report they are struggling to pay or have fallen behind on housing payments.
The Wall Street Journal reports that the coronavirus pandemic threatens to widen the longstanding gap in homeownership between Black and White Americans, which could have broader implications for wealth disparities.
An op-ed in The Hill, written by the CEO of the Community Preservation Corporation and former commissioner of the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development, urges Congress to pass an emergency rental assistance program for tenants impacted by COVID-19, similar to the $100 billion included in the House-passed “HEROES Act.”
Forbes reports the National Apartment Association is joining the New Civil Liberties Alliance (NCLA) in its lawsuit challenging the legality of the CDC eviction moratorium.
Vice reports on a new company called Civvl that aims to make it easy for landlords to hire process services and eviction agents as gig workers. “Legal court evictions are on hold. But most of these management companies, they’re not necessarily evicting people through courts,” said Javier Ruiz, a counselor on the Tenants’ Rights hotline for the Metropolitan Tenants Organization. “They’re just evicting people through pressure. So that’s why I see a company like [Civvl] would be coming in.”
State and Local News
A list of state and local emergency rental assistance programs is available here from NLIHC.
Tucson Weekly shares the story of a family evicted in August in Pima County after being wrongfully denied protection under Governor Doug Ducey’s executive order prohibiting evictions.
The coronavirus has not created problems in Tucson’s Latino communities, but instead has exposed existing ones, including lack of access to health care, higher number of workers in jobs considered “essential,” and high numbers of multigenerational housing.
The LA Times reports L.A. County’s Project Roomkey will drop several hundred beds each month until it ends early next year. Heidi Marston, executive director of the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, expressed concerns about uncertain funding from FEMA and the potential for the agency to suddenly stop funding the program, forcing the county to abruptly shut down hotels.
The Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously on September 23 to authorize the use of more than $10.4 million for an emergency legal defense program to support renters facing eviction amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Governor Gavin Newsom announced more than $236 million in the second round of Project Homekey awards for 29 projects in 12 California communities, totaling 1,810 units.
Efforts by the Bakersfield-Kern Regional Homeless Collaborative to lease a motel under Project Roomkey were stymied by a NIMBY hospital that insisted the move would increase vandalism and theft.
The San Jose City Council approved a 10-part anti-displacement plan to provide rental assistance and give nonprofit organizations first priority on property that goes on the market. The anti-displacement plan obligates city leaders to support federal legislation and private efforts to help tenants and landlords pay back rent and eliminate some of the legal costs of evictions.
Capital & Main reports on advocates’ concerns that an unprecedented tsunami of evictions will occur when the federal eviction moratorium expires at the end of the year if Congress does not provide emergency rental assistance.
Advocates, including the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless, who have been frustrated by the failure of elected officials and service providers to build a regional effort to address homelessness hope the pandemic may force Colorado to change its approach.
The Florida Housing Justice Alliance and Connected in Crisis are calling on Governor Ron DeSantis to extend Florida’s eviction and foreclosure moratorium, set to expire October 1, and to formalize unofficial moratoriums utility companies have voluntarily followed. The coalition is also urging Governor DeSantis to provide direct financial assistance for rent, mortgages, and utilities.
State Representative Anna Eskamani is urging Governor Ron DeSantis and other elected officials to use a portion of the remaining $5.8 billion in Florida’s CARES Act funding to fund civil legal aid for renters facing eviction through the Florida Bar Foundation.
Housing experts expect to see a surge in homelessness in Chicago this winter, especially if Illinois does not extend the statewide eviction ban set to expire in late October. Chicago is allocating millions of dollars from the CARES Act to provide housing to more than 1,000 Chicagoans experiencing homelessness.
Prosperity Indiana, an NLIHC state partner, reiterated calls for the state to establish a coordinated COVID-19 Housing Stability policy response in its submitted comments to the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority on the proposed use of Emergency Solutions Grant – Coronavirus (ESG-CV) Round 2 funds.
Loyola Law School professor Davida Finger analyzed more than 500 eviction filings in New Orleans from June to August, after Louisiana’s statewide moratorium expired, and found more than half were filed in neighborhoods where Black people comprise at least 80% of the population. The review also finds that it is primarily property managers of large complexes who are filing evictions.
A program funded by $800,000 from Polk County’s CARES Act funding and staffed by Iowa Legal and the Polk County Housing Trust Fund provides low-barrier rental relief. The project, set up outside Polk County’s eviction court, connects tenants with legal assistance and immediate rental assistance. Since the program began September 1, it has helped prevent 61 evictions affecting 149 residents, including 77 children.
An op-ed in the Press Herald discusses how the pandemic has altered the needs of people experiencing homelessness in Maine as well as the availability of services to meet these changing needs.
The Baltimore Sun reports Baltimore County officials estimate there could be as many as 24,000 eviction filings in a single month once courts get up to speed processing claims. County officials are setting aside federal funds for rental assistance and considering legislation limiting how much landlords can increase rent during the pandemic. Baltimore County’s Eviction Prevention Program, which has provided $1.2 million to 485 households so far, is providing funding in a “phased approach.”
Catherine LaPorte, director of Salvation Army Kent County’s housing services, has called the influx of people facing eviction in the county a “deluge,” an eviction crisis that she and others have predicted for months.
The Sparks City Council voted to allocate $85,000 of coronavirus relief funding toward an eviction mediation program while a state effort to establish a similar program is still being developed.
Homeless shelters across New Hampshire are preparing for an especially challenging winter as the December 30 deadline to spend and complete projects using federal Coronavirus Relief Fund dollars draws closer.
A $2.3 million Housing Stability Grant, funded through the New Jersey Pandemic Relief Fund, will provide outreach, counseling services, and pro-bono legal help to renters facing eviction. The funds are expected to help 250,000 New Jersey residents and provide counseling to 10,000 renters, but housing advocates continue to call for additional protection and aid for tenants.
Housing advocates in New York City report some building owners are trying to illegally evade the federal and state eviction moratoriums. “We’ve seen a big uptick in illegal lockout proceedings as landlords are becoming frustrated with the continued eviction moratorium,” said Emily Eaton, an attorney with Legal Aid.
New York Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie responded to advocates urging him and other state officials to extend the state’s eviction moratorium to “stop worrying about the evictions” without providing any information to support his assertion that there will not be mass evictions when the moratorium expires October 1.
“Between the 200,000 pending housing court cases and the 14,000 households with an active eviction warrant, allowing the moratorium to expire and these cases to proceed would be nothing short of catastrophic,” said Judith Goldiner, the head of the Legal Aid Society’s Civil Reform Unit.
A Lee County magistrate wrongfully rejected a Sanford renter’s signed CDC declaration, arguing the federal moratorium does not apply to her because she does not live in federally subsidized housing. The individual, however, is protected by the moratorium.
The North Carolina Housing Coalition details where and how Community Development Block Grant – Coronavirus (CDBG-CV) funds are being deployed across the state. North Carolina will be receiving an additional $46.8 million in the third and final tranche of CDBG-CV funds.
The Asheville Citizen Times compiled a list of rental assistance programs for struggling tenants in Buncombe County.
An op-ed in the Columbus Dispatch written by Steven Wagner, the executive director of the Universal Health Care Action Network Ohio, highlights the intricate connection between housing and healthcare. Wagner urges Governor Mike DeWine to allocate some of the state’s remaining $1 billion in CARES Act funds to rent relief.
The Coalition on Housing and Homelessness in Ohio (COOHIO), an NLIHC state partner, is urging tenants facing eviction to act immediately to get protection under the CDC eviction moratorium. COOHIO has compiled resources on applying for the federal eviction protection, finding emergency rental assistance programs in Ohio, and locating legal aid organizations.
Chester County Commissioners approved $1.8 million in CARES Act funding to provide rental assistance and additional services for households impacted by the pandemic. “Previous programs have provided up to $750 in rental assistance, but that’s simply not enough to cover the cost of housing in Chester County,” said County Commissioner Marian Moskowitz.
Houston Public Media reports Houston-area housing court judges are moving forward with evictions despite the heavy flooding from Tropical Storm Beta, the pandemic, and a federal eviction moratorium.
The Texas Supreme Court on September 17 issued an emergency order establishing clearer procedures for how the CDC declaration will be considered in eviction proceedings. Among other provisions, the Supreme Court order requires landlords, in the beginning of the eviction process, to provide tenants a copy of the CDC declaration. Texas Housers has been calling attention to the inconsistent enforcement of the CDC eviction moratorium by Texas judges.
A letter to the editor in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram explains why the CDC eviction moratorium will not solve the looming rental crisis and urges Congress to immediately enact legislation that includes $100 billion in emergency rental assistance.
Salt Lake City and county officials are encouraging Utahns to apply for rental assistance funds available through the CARES Act as soon as possible and regardless of their immigration status. Many renters seeking help from Comunidades Unidas, a Utah nonprofit, are concerned they will need to repay the rental assistance or that it will prevent them from obtaining lawful permanent resident status. “We’re having to do a lot of education in terms of trying to minimize the fear in our communities,” said the Mayra Cedano, the organization’s executive director.
In an article in Becker’s Hospital Review, the president and CEO of Catholic Charities Eastern Washington discusses why mass evictions will cause a healthcare crisis in addition to a homelessness crisis.
After widespread tenant intimidation, the D.C. Council on September 22 passed legislation to establish and extend several tenant protections during the pandemic. The Council passed a bill extending the eviction ban for 60 days after the health emergency expires.
A Milwaukee family of four with a baby on the way was evicted from their home, despite the national eviction moratorium. The family did not know about the CDC moratorium, which requires tenants to sign and submit a declaration to their landlords.
Department of Housing and Urban Development