U.S. Census Bureau
In light of ongoing efforts to address COVID-19, the U.S. Census Bureau announced it will conduct the count of people experiencing homelessness between September 22 and 24. The Census Bureau has posted several resources to explain how they count people experiencing homelessness, how privacy and confidentiality are preserved, and how organizations can assist.
American Bar Association President Patricia Lee Refo sent a letter on September 5 to congressional leadership calling for immediate action to extend the federal moratorium on evictions and to provide rental and mortgage assistance. “The moratorium is only a temporary and incomplete remedy,” writes Refo. “Federal rental assistance also is necessary to address the mounting rental debt and landlord expenses.”
The Washington Post argues that without federal action to provide rental assistance, the CDC eviction moratorium will only delay mass evictions until January. The CDC order has halted evictions temporarily, but Congress must take action to prevent an eviction crisis when the federal moratorium ends.
CNBC reports on housing advocates’ concerns that loopholes in the CDC eviction moratorium and inconsistent state applications leave renters vulnerable to eviction. There are concerning signs that landlords are continuing to evict tenants despite the federal ban.
NPR compiled a list of recommendations and resources for tenants who are unable to pay the rent, including information from NLIHC, the National Housing Law Project, and Princeton University’s Eviction Lab.
The ABA Journal discusses warnings from housing lawyers that the impending eviction crisis will upend the housing market and devastate entire communities. There are concerns that landlords are attempting to find loopholes in the order and proceed with evicting tenants for other reasons. “They are banking on the tenants not knowing their rights and then not having legal representation,” says Rafael Bautista, co-director of the San Diego Tenants Unions.
USA Today examines how the COVID-19 pandemic is exacerbating existing housing disparities in the U.S. The article argues that while the federal eviction moratorium is an essential measure, it is delaying, not preventing, the eviction crisis.
CNBC released an FAQ about the CDC eviction moratorium.
NPR’s Planet Money discusses the pandemic’s impact on the housing market, noting that the current market reflects America’s increasing inequality. While the housing market is booming, there is a significant shortfall in rental demand across the country.
“It’s incredibly important to keep people in their homes, not only from a public health standpoint, but from a human dignity standpoint and to make sure people aren’t cast into homelessness because of this pandemic,” Matthew Desmond, Pulitzer Prize-winning author and principal investigator of Princeton University’s Eviction Lab, told MSNBC’s Kasie Hunt.
State and Local News
A list of state and local emergency rental assistance programs is available here from NLIHC.
Representative Jennifer Longdon, a Democrat who represents portions of Phoenix and Scottsdale, spoke to KJZZ about why the Arizona legislature should hold a special session to address evictions and rental assistance.
WREG reports that court records indicate a sharp increase in eviction filings in Arkansas in the late summer months ahead of the CDC moratorium. NLIHC President and CEO Diane Yentel spoke about the federal eviction moratorium and the need for rental assistance in an interview with WREG.
Despite the CDC’s national eviction moratorium, Arkansas renters and housing advocates are concerned that renters will fall off a financial cliff when back-rent is owed if the federal government does not provide rental assistance. Arkansas Renters United, a grassroots tenants’ rights organization, protested at the offices of Republican Senators Tom Cotton and John Boozman, calling on them to pass the $100 billion in emergency rental assistance included in the “HEROES Act.”
The Los Angeles City Council decided on September 9 to allocate up to $97 million in CARES Act funding for rapid rehousing but is authorizing only $30 million at this point. The council decided to refrain from authorizing most of the funds until the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority demonstrates progress in housing people with the money.
The Los Angeles Times reports that advocates are concerned over the rise in deaths of people experiencing homelessness in Orange County. According to the coroner’s office, 146 people experiencing homelessness died between April and August. During the same period last year, there were 82 deaths.
The Los Angeles Times editorial board urges city officials to continue protecting people experiencing homelessness from the coronavirus by focusing on permanent housing and non-congregate shelters. The editorial board urges city officials to follow CDC guidance and refrain from sweeping encampments.
The City of Los Angeles installed permanent hand-washing stations in Skid Row and North Hollywood.
The Ventura County Star reports the Vagabond Inn in Oxnard is under consideration for funding under Project Homekey. If approved, the inn could soon transition from an affordable hotel option to permanent supportive housing for 70 county residents currently experiencing homelessness. Ventura County received a notice of a conditional award of approximately $9.5 million from Project Homekey. The county will also contribute $3.5 million of its own federal coronavirus relief funds.
While the CDC eviction moratorium will help millions of people, the federal order is too little, too late for some Coloradans. Housing advocates, including Elena Wilken of Housing Colorado, are concerned that without rental assistance, the eviction moratorium is merely delaying, not preventing mass evictions.
The program manager for the Denver Public Schools Homeless Education Network reports a significant increase in student homelessness. There are fears that students and families facing homelessness are slipping through the cracks and not receiving needed resources since schools are operating remotely.
The Coloradoan provides an overview of the new federal eviction moratorium. The federal order accompanies local efforts to prevent evictions in Fort Collins and Larimer Court. Several Fort Collins’ City Council members, for example, are considering a prospective program that would provide legal assistance for renters facing possible eviction.
An op-ed in the CT Post suggests that the CDC’s eviction moratorium buys the federal, state, and local governments critical time to determine how they can best manage rent and mortgage failures to prevent unprecedented waves of homelessness and housing instability.
WPTV questions why Governor Ron DeSantis often delays extending Florida’s eviction moratorium until just hours before it expires. NLIHC’s Diane Yentel spoke to WPTV about the harmful impact of this approach and noted there is no evidence to support suggestions that people who can pay rent are not doing so.
Nearly a dozen families residing at an extended hotel in DeKalb County were evicted, but the Housing Justice League and DeKalb County Commissioner Larry Johnson report that anyone who has lived at the property longer than 90 days cannot legally be evicted under the federal moratorium. Commissioner Johnson noted that many people, including landlords, do not fully understand the CDC eviction moratorium.
The Hawaii House Committee on Human Services and Homelessness met recently to discuss strategies to increase awareness of resources available to people experiencing homelessness during the pandemic. One such resource is the Behavioral Health and Homelessness Statewide Unified Response Group website: https://health.hawaii.gov/bhhsurg/
Idaho News 6 provides an overview of how the CDC’s eviction moratorium might affect Idaho tenants. While many advocates have lauded the federal order, the Idaho Apartment Association and local housing and homelessness providers continue calling for emergency rental assistance.
Before the federal eviction moratorium was announced, Idaho Legal Aid was bracing for a wave of evictions. The organization has been unable to meet the overwhelming demand for assistance in recent months. The Idaho Housing and Finance Association’s Housing Preservation Program has also seen an increasing in financial assistance requests in the last several weeks. Learn more about the Housing Preservation Program here.
Applications for Illinois’ rental assistance program have far exceeded the amount of assistance available, according to Bob Palmer, NLIHC board member and policy director for Housing Action Illinois, an NLIHC state partner. The CDC eviction moratorium has quelled the eviction tsunami; at least half a million households in Illinois are struggling to pay rent due to the pandemic.
The Indy Star reports that despite the CDC eviction moratorium, Central Indiana is bracing for a surge of COVID-19-related evictions. Experts estimate 313,000 Hoosiers representing 42% of all renters are at risk of losing their homes when the moratorium ends.
The Indiana Supreme Court launched the Landlord and Tenant Settlement Conference Program to provide a free avenue for landlords and tenants to reach a mutually beneficial resolution. The program is a no-cost opportunity for landlords and tenants to resolve their dispute outside of court with a neutral facilitator.
Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett announced on September 8 that $7.1 million in CARES Act funding will fund a rapid rehousing program. Partners at the Coalition for Homelessness Intervention and Prevention (CHIP) and Merchants Affordable Housing Corp. will assist with the new initiative.
“If we don’t get the money flowing, in terms of rental assistance, we could easily have massive evictions, massive displacement here in Kentucky and then eventually lose a bunch of those homes out of the rental market, out of the housing market,” says Adrienne Bush, executive director of the Homeless and Housing Coalition of Kentucky.
Governor Andy Beshear signed Executive Order 2020-700 and Executive Order 2020-751, effective August 25, that dedicated federal Coronavirus Relief Funds (CRF) in the amount of $15 million for a Healthy at Home Eviction Relief Fund. Applications opened on September 8 and are taken on a first completed, first paid basis.
The Beacon reports that housing advocates, including Greg Payne of the Maine Affordable Housing Coalition, consider the CDC's eviction moratorium to be only one part of the solution to the impending eviction crisis. Rent relief is needed to support landlords and tenants. NLIHC estimates 57,000 to 129,000 Mainers will be at risk of eviction by the end of the year.
A Bangor hotel will serve as shelter space for people experiencing homelessness for the rest of the year under an arrangement that will reserve half of the hotel for those with COVID-19 and the other half for clients without the disease. Maine is contracting with Penobscot Community Health Care to provide services, including housing navigators who will work with clients to find permanent housing and offer continued support for an additional year.
Attorney Matt Hill at the Public Justice Center in Baltimore says that renters must be aware of the terms of the CDC’s eviction moratorium because savvy landlords could dispute small details. “It’s going to help millions of tenants, and it’s incredibly important,” said Hill. “But it does require tenants to be vigilant, and to take action.” While the moratorium is a critical step to protect tenants, Hill is urging lawmakers to pair the moratorium with rental assistance. Tenants who need assistance in qualifying can contact the Fair Housing Action Center of Maryland: https://www.fairhousingmd.org/.
Maryland Matters reports that as eviction hearings resume, undocumented immigrants face the highest risk of losing their homes. Prince George’s County typically schedules 150,000 landlord-tenant cases each year, and the executive director of Community Legal Services, a non-profit that helps low-income residents with legal aid, predicts that the demand for assistance this year will outweigh the organization’s capabilities.
CNBC reports that some states, including Maryland, are adopting a narrower interpretation of the CDC moratorium. Although the CDC ban does not require renters to provide additional documentation to prove they qualify for the protection aside from the declaration form, Maryland courts may require evidence. The CDC prohibits any step toward eviction, but some steps of the process, including hearings and even decisions, will still be allowed to proceed in Maryland.
The Harvard Crimson reports that the pandemic is creating enormous challenges for homeless shelters in Cambridge that rely on undergraduate volunteers.
At least 70 illegal eviction cases were filed in Massachusetts Housing Court, including 50 that violated the federal eviction moratorium. Some of the evicted tenants only owed several hundred dollars, most lived in the poorest areas of the state, and nearly all lacked legal representation.
The Detroit Free Press reports that the Michigan State Court Administrative Office issued guidance to local courts in response to the CDC’s national eviction moratorium. Michigan Legal Help has released resources for tenants about the CDC eviction moratorium.
The Northwest Michigan Coalition to End Homelessness aims to house 20 families experiencing homelessness in the next 100 days. “We feel like the pandemic needs to create urgency around housing because we know that housing is a form of healthcare that people need,” says Ashley Halladay-Schmandt, director of the Coalition.
Hundreds of demonstrators marched in Minneapolis on September 5 calling for the end of park encampment evictions in the city. The demonstrators demanded that the Minneapolis Park Board and city leadership end encampment evictions and called for real affordable housing solutions.
KUNR reports on how the national eviction moratorium will work in Nevada and provides links to rental assistance resources.
New Hampshire Business Review explains what the CDC eviction moratorium means for New Hampshire renters and what renters must do to protect themselves from evictions. Since the state’s eviction band ended July 1, landlord-tenant writs have increased. Last month, Governor Chris Sununu vetoed House Bill 1247, which would have offered renters a six-month repayment plan for rent payments missed during the pandemic.
An op-ed in NJ.com urges the state Senate to protect Black families from COVID-19 evictions by passing S-2340, an important pandemic-related housing protections bill. S-2340 would establish a comprehensive, statewide forbearance program that would prevent a tsunami of pandemic-caused displacement.
The Albuquerque Journal shares the story of a household evicted for non-payment of rent despite the New Mexico Supreme Court’s order prohibiting evictions throughout the pandemic.
The Legal Aid Society announced on September 10 that it is preparing an Article 78 lawsuit against New York City over its plan to force New Yorkers living with disabilities and from the Harmonia homeless shelter in Manhattan to other facilities across the city that lack necessary services to meet their needs. The city’s plan to move residents from the Harmonia shelter, 80% of whom have disabilities, stems from the need to accommodate the men experiencing homelessness who were kicked out of the Lucerne Hotel.
“We are deeply disturbed that the Mayor is caving to political pressure to move homeless New Yorkers out of temporary pandemic shelter in a way that will displace one hundred fifty adult families sheltered at the Harmonia, none of whom deserve to get caught up in this politicized process,” says State Senator Liz Krueger.
Politico reports that Mayor Bill de Blasio denied he was caving to political pressure, insisting it was the “beginning of a larger effort to come back from those hotels.”
“The community treats us like we are criminals, and the city has given in to their demands to move us out,” says an individual temporarily residing in an Upper West Side hotel during the pandemic. “Being homeless during a pandemic is hard enough – but being unwelcome, and looked down on, makes it even worse.”
Advocates are concerned about what will happen to the 250 formerly incarcerated people who have been residing in New York City hotels during the pandemic if the city halts the program. The de Blasio administration is seeking reimbursement for the program from FEMA. The city has contracted with several social service nonprofits and the hotels until October 31, but the program faces neighborhood opposition and uncertain funding.
Legal aid and housing advocates in North Carolina discuss the urgent need for rental assistance alongside the national eviction moratorium. “Freezing the evictions is great, but unless there’s some type of financial support rental assistance…to bring people current, it’s extending the cliff,” said Isaac Sturgill, who leads the housing division of Legal Aid of North Carolina in Charlotte.
While the national moratorium provides short-term relief for North Carolina renters, it does not provide any financial relief for tenants, landlords, or property managers. “Without additional support from either the federal government, state government, or local government, this essential just pushes the financial problem down the road,” says Pamela Atwood, director of housing policy for the North Carolina Housing Coalition.
Attorneys report that some Mahoning Valley courts never halted eviction proceedings during the pandemic. The nonprofit community Legal Aid has seen a recent spike in eviction cases in the Youngstown area since the CARES Act moratorium expired July 24.
Governor Kate Brown on August 31 extended the statewide foreclosure moratorium underlying the provisions of House Bill 4204 to December 31, 2020.
The Philadelphia Inquirer editorial board urges Philadelphia’s courts and state lawmakers to take critical steps to prevent the impending eviction avalanche. The authors urge city officials to translate materials about the CDC moratorium to multiple languages, actively promote Philadelphia’s Eviction Diversion Program, and provide rent relief.
Governor Tom Wolf is calling on the General Assembly to improve the CARES Rent Relief Program, provide an additional $100 million in CARES funding, enact an eviction and foreclosure moratorium until the end of the year, and other legislation to help renters and homeowners.
“The eviction moratorium is important, but it’s temporary,” says Phyllis Chamberlain, executive director of the Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania. “Rental assistance is a longer-term solution that actually addresses the root problem.”
Housing assistance organizations in Greenville County have been receiving non-stop phone calls requesting assistance. Local housing experts estimated that 43% of South Carolina tenants were at risk of eviction after the statewide moratorium ended in May.
Despite the federal eviction moratorium, Myrtle Beach shelters are bracing for an increase in the need for shelter.
Even with the federal moratorium, housing and homeless service providers in Horry County are concerned about an increase in evictions and homelessness. The Eastern Carolina Housing Organization has seen a 139% increase in requests for homeless prevention assistance this August compared to August of 2019.
At least 50% of renters in the Chattanooga area are at risk of rental shortfalls, meaning an estimated 17,205 people could face eviction proceedings in the city of Chattanooga. While the CDC moratorium delays evictions, advocates warn that it will not prevent mass evictions when the order expires.
ABC13 shares the story of a Houston couple with seven children who are being forced to leave their homes one day before school starts.
The Austin Monitor released an article informing Central Texas renters about the CDC eviction moratorium.
Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall announced on September 1 an additional $1.1 million to existing housing assistance programs for residents impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Undocumented residents are eligible to receive funding. The funds will be allocated to three community organizations focused on rapid rehousing, rental assistance, and mortgage assistance.
The Virginia Supreme Court declined Governor Ralph Northam’s request to extend the statewide eviction moratorium, noting the CDC’s eviction moratorium that went into effect on September 4.
A motel voucher program run by Snoqualmie Valley Shelter Services to provide shelter for people experiencing homelessness during the pandemic has demonstrated the effectiveness of the housing first model.
Mayor Muriel Bowser released a statement on September 10 reminding residents of available rental assistance and eviction prevention programs. The programs are funded through $40 million in CARES Act funds.
Milwaukee homeless shelters are facing significant challenges from the coronavirus, including ensuring people are social distancing and having to reduce their capacity. Now, shelters are seeing an increase in individuals living outside.
Four tribes in Wisconsin are receiving approximately $4.1 million from HUD to support projects, such as the construction of new housing to address homelessness or overcrowding and transitional housing for those under quarantine. The Ho-Chunk Nation said the $1.5 million it received will go toward rent, mortgage, and utility assistance programs.
Department of Agriculture
Department of Housing and Urban Development
FY20 CARES Act Supplemental Funding – September 11
Methodology for Round 3 Allocations of CDBG CARES Act Funds – September 11
Internal Revenue Service
Economic Impact Payments: Partner and Promotional Materials – Updated September 10