FEMA released an interim policy on September 1 to clarify eligible activities under the Public Assistance program as part of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The interim policy, “COVID-19 Pandemic: Work Eligible for Public Assistance,” can be found here.
The NLIHC-led Disaster Housing Recovery Coalition will continue to advocate a broad array of resources and protections, including emergency rental assistance and eviction prevention assistance, a national moratorium on evictions and foreclosures, and emergency funds for homelessness service providers, housing authorities, and housing providers, among other recommendations. For more information, see DHRC’s full list of recommendations.
Princeton University’s Eviction Lab found that in Cincinnati, Houston, and Phoenix, a significant share of evictions initiated during the COVID-19 pandemic have been for relatively small sums of money. Learn about the Eviction Lab’s preliminary analysis here.
Amanda Andere, CEO of Funders Together to End Homelessness, and Jeanne Feake-Sellassie, project director of Funders for Housing and Opportunity, released a statement—“Philanthropy Cannot Be Expected to ‘Fill the Gap’ in Rental Assistance Need Caused by Lack of Government Support”—addressing the September 1 CDC eviction moratorium notice.
The Kentucky Equal Justice Center created a tool to help renters generate and send to their landlords the declaration from the CDC protecting tenants from eviction.
NLIHC President and CEO Diane Yentel spoke with Judy Woodruff on PBS NewsHour about what the CDC’s eviction moratorium means for renters and landlords. “The eviction moratorium is essential, but it’s a half-measure,” said Yentel. “Emergency rental assistance absolutely has to be paired with this eviction moratorium. And only Congress can provide those resources.”
NLIHC’s Diane Yentel spoke with Yahoo! Finance about the administration’s new eviction moratorium, the urgent need for emergency rental assistance, and the need for substantial, sustained investments to address our nation’s underlying affordable housing crisis.
NPR reports on the CDC’s eviction moratorium. “My reaction is a feeling of tremendous relief,” says NLIHC’s Diane Yentel. “It’s a pretty extraordinary and bold and unprecedented measure that the White House is taking that will save lives and prevent tens of millions of people from losing their homes in the middle of a pandemic.”
Marketplace reports on the CDC’s eviction moratorium, highlighting advocates’ concerns that an eviction moratorium on its own is not enough. “Because eventually those moratoriums expire, and they create a financial cliff for renters to fall off of when back rent is owed,” said NLIHC’s Diane Yentel.
NLIHC’s Diane Yentel and Shamus Roller, executive director of the National Housing Law Project, spoke about the Trump administration’s eviction moratorium on KALW’s “Your Call.” “Because the moratorium is not paired with substantial emergency rental assistance, the action merely postpones evictions nationwide; it does not prevent them,” said Yentel.
CityLab reports on the CDC’s eviction moratorium, highlighting the importance of spreading awareness about the protections to renters at risk of losing their homes. Rental assistance must be a top legislative priority when Congress returns to session on September 8, says NLIHC’s Diane Yentel.
The Washington Post reports on the White House’s eviction moratorium, highlighting concerns from Democratic lawmakers and housing experts. NLIHC’s Diane Yentel described the new policy as “long overdue and badly needed,” while also calling on Congress and the White House to enact a coronavirus relief bill with at least $100 billion in emergency rental assistance.
The New York Times discusses the CDC’s eviction moratorium, quoting NLIHC’s Diane Yentel’s statement on the order. While NLIHC welcomes the moratorium, Congress and the White House must enact a relief bill that includes rental assistance. The New York Times also released an FAQ about the new order.
Truthout reports on the administration’s eviction moratorium, highlighting statements from NLIHC’s Diane Yentel. The article also discusses three NLIHC-supported housing bills: the “Emergency Rental Assistance and Rental Market Stabilization Act,” “Eviction Crisis Act,” and the “Housing Emergencies Lifeline Program Act.”
Common Dreams discusses reactions to the White House’s eviction moratorium from housing advocates and policy experts, including NLIHC’s Diane Yentel. “While an eviction moratorium is essential, it is a half-measure that extends a financial cliff for renters to fall off when the moratorium expires and back rent is owed,” said Diane Yentel.
Curbed NY provides an overview of the administration’s eviction moratorium, linking to NLIHC’s Diane Yentel’s Twitter thread on the announcement. The article also highlights concerns about the moratorium from landlords. “Not only does an eviction moratorium not address renters' real financial needs, a protracted eviction moratorium does nothing to address the financial pressures and obligations of rental-property owners,” said the president of the National Multifamily Housing Council.
Bloomberg refers to the CDC’s eviction moratorium as an “unprecedented use of executive authority” that will likely face legal challenges from landlords. Administration officials say the CDC can take emergency measures when it determines that state and local governments have not taken sufficient steps to prevent the spread of communicable diseases.
The New York Times explains why the administration’s eviction moratorium alone will not prevent a housing crisis. Rental assistance is needed to support both tenants and landlords. The article highlights the House-passed “HEROES Act,” which includes $100 billion in emergency rental assistance.
Reuters explains the administration’s sweeping eviction moratorium. The article also mentions the House-passed “HEROES Act,” which, among other provisions, includes $100 billion in emergency rental assistance and a national, uniform moratorium.
A two-month investigation by the Howard Center for Investigative Journalism at the University of Maryland found that confusion about the federal eviction moratorium enacted in the CARES Act led to selective enforcement.
Matthew Desmond, Pulitzer Prize-winning author and principal investigator at Princeton University’s Eviction Lab, outlines the urgent need for Congress to prevent evictions and protect the security and health of American families in an op-ed in the New York Times. “Our efforts to defeat COVID-19 and recover from the economic damage it has wrought will be deeply compromised if we fail to help keep families in their homes,” he writes.
Legal aid attorneys and housing advocates told CNBC that the federal eviction moratorium enacted in the CARES Act failed to protect many struggling tenants because it lacked an enforcement mechanism. Fewer than half of states required landlords to attest that their evictions did not violate the CARES Act.
The Howard Center for Investigative Journalism finds that people experiencing homelessness in rural America suffer from a lack of appropriate care and access to health resources during the COVID-19 pandemic.
An article in the New Republic discusses the dangerous confluence of a looming eviction crisis, flu season, colder temperatures, and the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
CNBC reports that “mom and pop” landlords are being disproportionately harmed as more and more renters are unable to afford rent. Without congressional action, small landlords and their tenants will fall deeper behind on their payments, leading to more evictions for renters and more mortgage defaults for landlords.
The Washington Post examines housing advocates’ concerns that an eviction crisis still looms without federal rent relief alongside the eviction moratorium. Rent relief is key to stabilizing the market, but any additional rental assistance must come from the federal government, since city and state governments are unable to meet the overwhelming need for aid.
The Hill reports that the Trump administration’s new eviction moratorium likely will face several legal and political challenges. The article discusses concerns from housing advocates and the real estate industry that without rental assistance, the expiration of the ban will create a dangerous housing crisis in the new year.
The Washington Post reports on opposition to the Trump administration’s new eviction moratorium from landlords, home builders, and other housing industry groups. Objections to the action concern the federal government’s failure to provide rental assistance alongside the moratorium.
The Howard Center for Investigative Journalism found that essential workers who are homeless face the greatest risk of COVID-19. Experts say between 25-50% of people experiencing homelessness work. During the pandemic, this means many employees who are homeless are working low-wage essential jobs that put them at risk of the coronavirus.
The National Journal reports on the impending eviction crisis, noting that millions of people in the U.S. could lose their homes if the federal government does not intervene. The article discusses the need for rental assistance, a broad national eviction moratorium, and access to legal counsel for all tenants.
While the Trump administration’s eviction moratorium will prevent millions from losing their homes ahead of the election, the pandemic is creating additional barriers to voting for people experiencing homelessness and housing insecurity.
The Appeal examines why housing insecurity brought on by the pandemic threatens to disenfranchise millions of voters.
State and Local News
A list of state and local emergency rental assistance programs is available here from NLIHC.
The Los Angeles Times reports that new federal and state protections could protect struggling tenants, at least through the end of the year. Governor Gavin Newsom’s administration announced on September 2 a new informational campaign and website called “Housing Is Key,” which informs tenants and landlords of their rights under California’s new program.
California lawmakers passed and Governor Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill 3088, the “COVID-19 Tenant Relief Act of 2020.” Under the legislation, no tenant can be evicted before February 1, 2021, due to nonpayment of rent due to a COVID-19 related hardship accrued between March 4 and August 31. For a pandemic related hardship that accrues between September 1, 2020-January 31, 2021, tenants must also pay at least 25% of rent due to avoid eviction. Read a summary of the bill here. Some tenant advocates are concerned the complex regulations will not protect the most vulnerable renters, while some landlords believe the measure will not help small property owners. Governor Newsom acknowledged California will need more assistance to address the economic instability and possible mass displacement faced by renters.
The Colorado Department of Local Affairs Division of Housing and Brothers Redevelopment, Inc. are launching the Housing Counseling and Assistance Program (HCAP). An expansion of the existing Colorado Housing Connects program, HCAP will provide residents with access to free eviction and foreclosure prevention legal services.
In an article in the Orlando Sentinel, NLIHC’s Diane Yentel stated, “The inaction and neglect by the federal government, by Congress, and by the White House to act until now has resulted in thousands, maybe tens of thousands of people already losing their homes due to COVID-19. And it’s a relief that the CDC has finally taken action to prevent that same harm being done to tens of millions more families.” The Community Justice Project reports that more than 10,000 eviction cases have been filed in Florida since April.
Governor Ron DeSantis extended Florida’s eviction moratorium on August 31, less than four hours before it was set to expire. The Orlando Sentinel reports that since Governor DeSantis narrowed the state’s moratorium in August, hundreds of eviction cases have been filed, outpacing the total number of evictions filed from April to July when a stricter eviction plan was in place. Landlords in Broward, Palm Beach, and Miami-Dade counties filed 2,170 evictions between August 1 and August 27, far more than in any of the four prior months.
Housing advocates spoke to WOSU about the inextricable connection between housing and health, highlighting their concerns that the impending eviction crisis will increase the spread of COVID-19. The advocates discussed racial disparities in health and housing, noting that evictions and the coronavirus are disproportionately harming communities of color.
Advocates report the number of unsheltered people experiencing homelessness in New Orleans has exploded over the last several months, including a growing number of people experiencing homelessness for the first time.
Baltimore Mayor Bernard “Jack” Young announced a $30 million eviction prevention program that will begin in late September. The program builds on the city’s Temporary Rent Support Program to give more extended support. The funds will include $17.06 million in Community Development Block Grant – Coronavirus (CDBG-CV) funds, $10 million from the city’s general CARES Act allocation, and $27.5 million in city funds through the Affordable Housing Trust Fund.
The Maryland Public Service Commission voted on August 31 to extend the state’s moratorium on utility service shutoffs for another month, through October 1.
Maryland Speaker of the House Adrienne Jones on August 31 urged Governor Larry Hogan to increase funding to help tenants at risk of eviction. Maryland courts were set to resume nonpayment of rent eviction cases this week.
A grassroots group of activists held a rally to prevent the eviction of an Ann Arbor retiree with a disability.
Detroit Action and Michigan United, two local community organizations that focus on racial and economic injustice, rallied in downtown Detroit on September 1 to advocate housing protections and resources and extension of the supplemental $600 unemployment benefit.
Governor Steve Sisolak on August 31 announced a 45-day extension to Nevada’s residential eviction moratorium. The extension came one day before the moratorium was set to expire. Lawmakers passed Senate Bill 1 in August, allowing the courts to establish a program to halt eviction proceedings for up to 30 days in favor of alternative dispute resolution between landlords and tenants. The program, however, is not yet operational. An estimated 249,000 people in Clark County were at risk of eviction if legal proceedings had been allowed to resume on September 1.
Curbed NY reports that NIMBY groups have threatened to sue New York City to transfer the people experiencing homelessness temporarily residing in Upper West Side hotels if Mayor de Blasio’s administration did not provide a timeline to do so within 48 hours. While Mayor Bill de Blasio announced earlier this month that the city would start developing a plan to reduce the “reliance on hotels,” the Department of Homeless Services has not yet said it is safe to move the approximately 10,000 people currently residing in 139 hotels back into the city’s shelter system. The Legal Aid Society says that if Mayor de Blasio decides to move people experiencing homelessness out of hotels, it will file a lawsuit. “The public health crisis is not over, and moving people experiencing homelessness back into overcrowded shelters could spark a second wave of COVID-19, putting lives at needless risk,” says Judith Goldiner, attorney-in-charge of the Civil Law Reform Unit at the Legal Aid Society.
The Legal Aid Society found that approximately 14,000 New York City families were facing eviction before the pandemic began in March. The organization sent a letter to New York State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie urging the legislature to reconvene and indefinitely extend the statewide eviction moratorium set to expire October 1.
Residents of Upper West Side hotels share about the positive impacts of moving from congregate shelters to isolated hotel rooms. Councilman Stephen Levin has called on the de Blasio administration to expand rental assistance and provide additional housing and homelessness resources to protect New Yorkers from the threat of COVID-19.
The coronavirus pandemic is exacerbating the cost burdens that Buncombe County residents struggled with before the public health and economic crises. Clerk of Court Steve Cogburn said there have been 184 eviction filings due to nonpayment since court hearings resumed in the county on June 22.
Housing advocates, including the Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio, an NLIHC state partner, are concerned that the Trump administration’s eviction moratorium only postpones, rather than prevents, evictions in the state. The executive order has left local municipal court judges rushing to figure out how to implement it.
The Philadelphia Inquirer editorial board writes that although the CDC’s eviction moratorium provides critical relief, state legislators and local courts cannot assume that the eviction crisis has been averted. The success of the moratorium will depend on outreach to educate tenants, landlords, and local landlord-tenants judges that enforce the order. Moreover, rental assistance is needed to prevent mass evictions instead of delaying the crisis.
Before the federal eviction moratorium was enacted, advocates warned that thousands of people would be at risk of eviction in Chester County when Pennsylvania’s eviction moratorium expired on August 31. The Housing Authority of Chester County is concerned about the operational rules and requirements of the state’s Rent Relief Program, which have resulted in sporadic, slow, and often inadequate assistance.
The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that Pennsylvania residents are bracing for the statewide eviction moratorium to end August 31. About 1,500 evictions are typically scheduled each month in Philadelphia, but a lawyer at Community Legal Services anticipates “seeing an order of magnitude many times that next month.”
Evictions in Rhode Island have been rising since the moratorium expired in June. More than 12,000 new evictions were filed in August, up from about 800 in July and 549 in June.
An episode of TPR’s “The Source” addresses questions about the CDC’s nationwide eviction ban and discusses systemic inequities in housing.
Texas Housers released an article on the CDC’s eviction moratorium, highlighting its shortcomings and the need for robust rental relief.
The Texas Tribune reports that on October 1, nearly 600,000 Texans will lose access to a state program that prevents electricity shut-offs.
As fall approaches, COVID-19 cases are rising among people experiencing homelessness in King County. According to the latest point in time count, 64% of people experiencing homelessness in the county have one or more health conditions, increasing their vulnerability to the coronavirus.
WAMU explains what the CDC’s eviction moratorium means for tenants and landlords in Washington D.C., Maryland, and Virginia. The article discusses advocates’ concerns about the new policy, linking to tweets about the action from NLIHC’s Diane Yentel.
Since June 1, Community Advocates, a Milwaukee-based organization that serves low-income families and individuals, has received tens of thousands of inquiries and has received more than 4,000 applications for rent assistance. “This new eviction moratorium is a helpful step for tenants facing evictions, but it’s an incomplete policy approach,” says Mike Bare of the Community Advocates Public Policy Institute.
Department of Agriculture
Department of Housing and Urban Development
CDBG-CV Notice FAQs – August 27
Department of Treasury
Coronavirus Relief Fund Frequently Asked Questions – Updated September 2