Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
HUD announced on December 7 more than $52 million in Indian Community Block Grant - American Rescue Plan (ICDBG-ARP) grants to 49 Tribal communities to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. View a breakdown of the awards by recipient here.
HUD announced on December 2 it will make an additional $5.7 million in American Rescue Plan funding available to help HUD Fair Housing Initiatives Program agencies combat housing discrimination related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Applications for the funding are due by December 30, 2021.
HUD launched the HOME-American Rescue Plan (HOME-ARP) Allocation Plan Ask A Question (AAQ) help desk to respond to questions from Participating Jurisdictions (PJs) as they prepare, develop, and submit their HOME-ARP allocation plans.
HUD’s Office of Affordable Housing Programs is hosting a webinar series to assist communities in planning for their allocation of HOME-ARP funding. The next webinar, which will be held on December 15, 2021, 1:30-3 pm ET, will review non-congregate shelter (NCS) planning considerations through case studies to assist HOME Participating Jurisdictions (PJs) who are interested in using HOME-ARP to create NCS for their community. Register today!
The Framework for an Equitable COVID-19 Homelessness Response is hosting a webinar on December 9 at 3 pm ET to address youth and family homelessness. Building on the recently released report, Immediate and Flexible Crisis Options for Children and Families, the webinar will explore resources available to support expanded crisis options paired with strong housing exits that can be replicated, adapted, and scaled to meet communities’ needs and ensure that no child sleeps outside. Register for the webinar here.
Advocacy and Research
The National Housing Law Project (NHLP) surveyed 119 legal aid and civil rights attorneys in 41 states, Washington, DC, and Puerto Rico to see how tenants have fared after the federal eviction moratorium ended on August 26, 2021. The survey found courts and landlords continue to evict families, despite legal protections and billions of dollars in aid to landlords. Read NHLP’s press release and the survey.
The National Alliance to End Homelessness (NAEH) surveyed Continuums of Care, which are working with Public Housing Authorities (PHAs) to distribute HUD’s Emergency Housing Vouchers (EHV), to learn about how they are implementing EHVs. Read the brief here.
CNN reports the U.S. Department of Treasury will begin reallocating emergency rental assistance (ERA) funds among state and local grantees to ensure ERA goes where it is needed and is being distributed efficiently. The article cites NLIHC’s statement and analysis of the latest ERA spending data and links to NLIHC’s ERA database.
The Hill discusses findings from a new report released by researchers from UCLA, along with a coalition of researchers who study homelessness. The report found nearly 1,500 people experiencing homelessness died on the streets of Los Angeles during the pandemic. Researchers suspect that their findings are an underestimate given the limits of publicly available data.
State and Local News
Eviction filings are increasing across Arizona but remain below pre-pandemic levels as agencies improve the distribution of emergency rental assistance.
A Butte County program providing non-congregate shelter for people experiencing homelessness ended earlier than planned, leading to the evictions of 36 people occupying 26 rooms at a Chico motel. Five of the parties were unable to find shelter within the 15-day eviction notice period and were provided tents. The Butte County program contracted with United Way to run the program, which was expected to operate through January 2022. According to United Way, the program ended abruptly because it ran out of funds. NLIHC notes that FEMA is fully covering the costs of eligible non-congregate sheltering through April 1, 2022.
A 172-unit housing site in Pittsburg will be among the first Project Homekey sites to open. Contra Costa County Supervisors used a $21.5 million Homekey grant to purchase and renovate a motel that was used for non-congregate shelter through Project Roomkey. The interim housing facility will provide on-site healthcare, housing navigation, and case management services.
Facing eviction and harassment from their landlords, California tenants are fighting to remain housed. A growing number of California cities are working to ban landlords from using aggressive practices to force out their tenants.
Neighbor to Neighbor, a nonprofit housing service provider in Larimer County, has prevented over 6,000 evictions, helped over 400 households with rental housing move-in costs, and provided utility assistance to over 600 households during the pandemic. The program will now distribute a portion of Colorado’s allocation of the federal Homeowner Assistance Fund.
The New Haven Independent reports a Connecticut housing court judge rejected a landlord’s attempt to evict a tenant instead of accepting state emergency rental assistance (ERA) funds. State Superior Court Judge John Cirello ruled that a property owner who has applied to Connecticut’s ERA program cannot simply change their mind after that application has been approved by the state.
The Delaware Housing Authority says it is working to streamline the state’s emergency rental assistance (ERA) program to speed the distribution of aid as evictions rise across the state.
ABC Action News posted the program improvement plan the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) was required to submit to the Treasury Department. As of November 15, Florida’s rent relief program had paid out 42% of the total funds allocated by Treasury.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports evictions across Georgia are increasing as the state’s distribution of emergency rental assistance (ERA) lags behind 38 states and D.C. in the amount disbursed. In the three months since the federal eviction moratorium ended, evictions in Georgia have averaged about 10,000 each month.
According to the Savannah Morning News, over 2,000 evictions have been filed in Chatham County since the federal eviction moratorium ended on August 27. On the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, all 14 renters who received eviction notices owed less than $3,000.
Housing advocates and renters are struggling to stay ahead of a growing tide of evictions in Springfield, Illinois. Evictions in Sangamon County have been on the rise since Illinois’ eviction moratorium expired two months ago.
The Gazette reports more than 1,000 Linn County households have received emergency rental assistance (ERA) through the county program, which has distributed about two-thirds of its ERA allocation. As of December 7, Iowa’s statewide ERA program had distributed just about $25 million of the total $195 million in ERA1 funding allocated to the state – less than 13%. The Iowa Finance Authority is seeking to transfer $30 million to Polk County’s ERA program.
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities estimates 192,000 Kentuckians, or about 22% of the population, are behind on rent. Kentucky Legal Aid has seen a 30% increase in clients during the pandemic. Legal aid advocates report an increase in evictions and homelessness in McCracken County, which has the biggest eviction docket in the state.
The Washington Post reports two of Maryland’s largest counties – Montgomery and Prince George’s – will stop accepting emergency rental assistance (ERA) applications this month amid dwindling funds. Montgomery County, which as of last month had distributed nearly 75% of its $31.4 million federal allocation and 81% of the additional $28.1 million it received from the state, will stop accepting ERA applications on December 31. Prince George’s County, which had distributed about 80% of its $27.2 million federal allocation as of early November, will not accept new applications after December 15.
According to Montana Public Radio, hundreds of millions of dollars allocated to Montana’s eight reservations through the CARES Act and American Rescue Plan Act will help build affordable housing on the reservations. NLIHC Vice President of Public Policy Sarah Saadian explains that while it is difficult to get firm data on housing needs in tribal areas, the numbers that exist indicate Native Americans have some of the worse housing needs in the U.S.
As much as $175 million of Montana’s federal emergency rental assistance (ERA) allocation remains unused and may be reallocated by the federal government. Governor Greg Gianforte’s administration is requesting flexibility to spend unused ERA funds to address affordable housing issues more broadly. Montana has disbursed $23 million for rent and utility assistance and allocated $14 million for housing stability services. The state is working on a contract with Montana Legal Services Association to expand an eviction prevention and diversion program.
Eviction filings in Lancaster County have doubled over the last six months. In November, 210 eviction hearings were filed in the county – a 106% increase from June when the federal eviction moratorium was still in effect.
New Mexico is one of the last states with a statewide eviction moratorium still in effect, but it is set to expire in January. Housing advocates are anticipating a flood of evictions and an increase in homelessness this winter when the eviction moratorium ends. The New Mexico Coalition to End Homelessness says it is has been harder to track the number of unhoused individuals during the pandemic.
Fayetteville has obligated nearly $12.5 million in emergency rental assistance (ERA) funds, with almost $10 million disbursed to help more than 2,000 households. Nearly 5,000 rental assistance applications are pending review, and residents have expressed concerns to city officials about the slow pace of distribution and the lack of communication from the program to tenants and landlords.
Ahead of Oregon’s special legislative session on December 13 to address tenant protections, Oregon housing advocates have been urging lawmakers to take action to prevent evictions. Oregon State Representatives Kayse Jama and Julie Fahey have developed a plan to keep renters housed by extending the eviction safe harbor period and providing an additional $200 million in state funding for tenants and landlords.
Spotlight PA examines the uneven distribution of federal emergency rental assistance (ERA) funds in Pennsylvania. While some rural counties received more money than they can spend, more populated counties do not have enough funds to meet the demand. Lawmakers could use some of the $5 billion in federal relief funds they set aside for future budgets to cover the shortfall in ERA. House Democrats proposed earmarking an additional $250 million for rent relief, but Republican leadership has not expressed interest in using that money to bolster rental assistance.
The Houston Chronicle editorial board argues Montgomery County Commissioners should not have voted to return $7 million in unspent emergency rental assistance (ERA) funds to the federal government when there remains a significant need for ERA in the county.
According to the Salt Lake Tribune, the Utah Department of Workforce Services (DWS), which administers the state’s federal emergency rental assistance (ERA) program, will stop contracting with housing advocacy organizations to process ERA applications. Under the new plan, which will begin next year, the state will stop funding renter advocacy groups but will continue paying landlords $150 for each application they submit on behalf of their tenants. Since Utah disbursed just 39% of its ERA allocation by the fall deadline, the state was required to submit a Program Improvement Plan to the Treasury Department. DWS declined to release a copy of its plan to the Utah Investigative Journal Project.
The Reflector reports Community Mediation Services, a Clark County agency that provides landlord-tenant mediation, is seeing an influx of new cases after Washington State’s COVID-19 eviction protections ended on November 1. Legislation signed during the 2021 legislative session (Senate Bill 5160) established an Eviction Resolution Program that requires landlords and tenants to participate in mediation through a Dispute Resolution Center. The agency has increased staffing to handle the “tsunami” of new mediation cases.
Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
- Emergency Housing Vouchers (EHV) Frequently Asked Questions, Version 7 [Word Document] – November 29, 2021
- Emergency Housing Vouchers for USDA Rural Development Properties: Frequently Asked Questions
- HUD HOME-ARP Program: Frequently Asked Questions – November 29, 2021
- COVID-19 Homeless System Response: Vaccine Planning and Distribution – December 2021
- New Resources for DCTA Recipients and Smaller Distressed Communities – December 7, 2021