Department of the Treasury
Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Treasury (Treasury) Wally Adeyemo spoke at an event hosted by Community Change and the Urban Institute on July 12. In addition to explaining how the American Rescue Plan is helping to advance equity, Deputy Secretary Adeyemo discussed how Treasury is working to strengthen and streamline the Emergency Rental Assistance program by issuing flexible guidance and working closely with program administrators. He also highlighted Treasury’s efforts to work with state and local governments to deploy their State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) and encourage governments to invest in high-need areas like affordable housing. Treasury has already provided a framework that can be used by fund recipients to prioritize equity, community engagement, and performance management in their uses of SLFRF.
Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
HUD released a factsheet providing an update on the American Rescue Plan’s $5 billion Emergency Housing Voucher (EHV) program. In the last year, EHVs have helped more than 26,000 households secure permanent housing, and nearly 35,000 households are presently searching for a unit or completing the leasing process using an EHV.
Advocacy and Research
The National Housing Law Project (NHLP) released the results of its survey on evictions in HUD-assisted properties. In the survey, attorneys from the Housing Justice Network reported an increase in the rate of eviction cases in HUD-assisted housing that surpasses the pre-pandemic rate. Several factors contributed to the increase in evictions, including the end of the CDC eviction moratorium, dwindling ERA funds, and the termination of related tenant protections. In addition to the survey, NHLP published an eviction prevention toolkit for advocates working with HUD tenants.
The National Housing Law Project released a new memorandum on the “Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act” (CARES Act) 30-day notice requirement. While the 30-day CARES Act notice requirement is still in effect, advocates continue to report widespread noncompliance with the provision and a lack of consistency in judicial enforcement.
The Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University released its annual report, The State of the Nation’s Housing 2022. According to the report, federal measures put in place during the COVID-19 pandemic enabled many households to recover from financial setbacks early in the pandemic. However, many renter households remained in financial straits in early 2022. The stopgap measures put in place to address the pandemic underscore the need for substantial, consistent investment in affordable rental housing.
Most of the emergency housing vouchers (EHVs) passed as part of the “American Rescue Plan Act” are now spoken for, according to CityLab. About 26,000 households have used the emergency vouchers to secure rental housing, and another 35,000 families have received vouchers and are either searching for an apartment or finalizing their lease. The $5 billion program will provide emergency housing vouchers for some 70,000 families. Read HUD’s factsheet on EHVs.
The Intercept reports that renters in Arkansas and Nebraska are facing eviction after their governors refused to accept federal emergency rental assistance. While Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson and Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts have claimed that their residents no longer needed rent assistance, requests for aid remain frequent as residents struggle to remain housed.
State and Local News
According to Axios, landlords in metro Phoenix filed more evictions in June 2022 than they did in June 2019, signaling a shift back to pre-pandemic levels. June 2022 saw the highest number of filings in any month since the start of the pandemic. State and local governments have distributed about $200 million in rent relief in metro Phoenix, and assistance is still available.
The Tucson City Council voted on July 12 to end an eviction moratorium for residents of city-owned housing on August 1. The decision will affect nearly 200 tenants who are behind on their rent. Only tenants who do not work with a county rental assistance program will be at risk of eviction. Local officials say that rental assistance and payment plans should cover most of the $135,000 in rental arrears owed by about 190 tenants in city housing.
Governor Asa Hutchinson rejected the second round of federal emergency rental assistance (ERA), claiming that the aid was not needed and that the state had $6.7 million in remaining funds from the first round of ERA. The Intercept reports that advocates have been unable to access the remaining ERA funds. In the absence of ERA, evictions have been spiking in Arkansas. By May 2022, evictions had reached the highest rate in five years.
California’s COVID-19 eviction moratorium expired on July 1, two years after the first eviction protections went into effect during the start of the pandemic. A patchwork of local moratorium extensions throughout the state offers protection for some renters. The Los Angeles Times addresses what California renters can do now that the statewide moratorium has expired.
Nearly 1.5 million renters in California are at risk of eviction. The Legal Aid Society is seeing a surge of illegal evictions in San Diego. In response to a rise in illegal eviction lockouts, California Attorney General Rob Bonta issued legal guidance about steps law enforcement officers should take to prevent and respond to unlawful lockouts and self-help evictions.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, nearly 36,000 California households received eviction notices last year, with even more falling behind on rent payments. This number does not include the tenants who left under the threat of eviction, negotiated move-out deals, or still owe back rent.
A group of tenant advocates and attorneys launched a new tool to help California tenants respond to eviction notices. The Tenant Power Toolkit is a collaborative effort between the Debt Collective, the LA Tenants Union, the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project, the UCLA Luskin Institute on Inequality & Democracy, ACCE Action, anti-eviction lawyers, and legal service providers. The Eviction Answer Tool allows tenants facing legal eviction (who have been served with a Summons and Complaint-Unlawful Detainer) to respond to their eviction by filing what’s called an “Answer” through the court system. If tenants receive a Summons and Complaint-Unlawful Detainer but do not file a legal response in time, they can be evicted within weeks. This tool is designed to keep people in their homes long enough to fight back. With a tenant’s consent, the tool gathers basic information about their eviction situation in order to link them with legal resources and tenants’ rights groups and to inform the group’s housing justice work. Gary Blasi, one of the lead housing lawyers behind the tool, says it is the first of its kind nationwide.
Over the past 15 months, California’s rent relief program has distributed approximately $4 billion in rental and utility assistance to over 340,000 renter households, preventing homelessness and providing stability to over 700,000 Californians. This year’s budget includes an additional $1.95 billion in rent relief for eligible applicants who applied through March 31, 2022.
Riverside County’s United Lift Rental Assistance program will close its online application portal on July 29. By the end of 2022, the program will have distributed more than $250 million countywide and helped 25,000 households, representing 100,000 local residents.
CBS4 reports that as rents continue to rise and eviction rates exceed pre-pandemic levels in Colorado, Denver is now providing free legal aid to tenants facing eviction. City Council members collectively donated $131,500 to start Denver's first Eviction Legal Defense Pilot. Tenants in Denver who have been served with a notice, have received court papers, or have a housing problem should contact Colorado Legal Services immediately at 303-837-1313/1321 x444 or online at coloradolegalservices.org.
The City of Miami’s Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) program will no longer accept applications after Wednesday, July 13, the city announced on July 8. Since the program launched in March 2021, it has assisted just over 3,100 households and distributed approximately $29.6 million in rental and utility assistance.
Dozens of tenants at risk of eviction rallied at the Miami-Dade Courthouse on July 12, demanding the right to legal counsel and to stay in their homes. Mayor Daniella Levine Cava is working with commissioners to obtain funding for legal aid approved in the upcoming budget.
Using federal funds provided through the “Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act” (CARES Act), the State of Hawaii distributed nearly $59 million in emergency rent and mortgage assistance to 13,700 households in three months. Those involved in designing the program say several elements were critical to its success, including the inclusion of people with lived experience in the decision-making process; early partnerships among state government, nonprofits, and other key stakeholders; and strong support from the community.
As inflation continues to take a toll, thousands of Oahu residents are still struggling to pay their rent. Oahu’s rent and utility relief program stopped accepting applications on June 30, and many fear they could be kicked out of their homes. Many Hawaiians are struggling to make ends meet in the face of rising costs for housing, food, gas, and utilities.
According to Jesse Tree, an organization that works to prevent evictions, the number of evictions in the Treasury Valley is reaching historic highs. Rental assistance and landlord-tenant mediation are available for tenants facing eviction.
A new judicial committee report on evictions in Kansas highlights several problems with the state’s complex, fast-paced legal system for evicting tenants for nonpayment of rent. The report found that during the pandemic, courts failed to mitigate widespread confusion about the availability of $300 million in federal emergency rental assistance administered by the state, half of which went unspent. The report also shows that courts continued to handle thousands of eviction cases while eviction moratoriums were in place. Rent Zero Kansas, a tenants' rights organization, questioned some of the findings and recommendations because the committee did not include a tenant or anybody who had been evicted. For example, the report does not account for the number of informal evictions occuring in Kansas.
The Sedgwick County District Court is one of about a dozen jurisdictions nationwide that will receive grant funding from the National Center for State Courts to develop an eviction resolution program.
The Louisville Metro Government is now accepting applications for its Landlord-Tenant Rental Assistance Program (LTRAP), which allows landlords to request bulk rental assistance on behalf of tenants who are behind on rent due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Tenants can still apply for rental assistance through the state's Healthy at Home Eviction Relief Fund.
Hundreds of households in Lexington have faced eviction over the last few months as rents continue to rise in the city and across the country. More than 480 evictions were filed in Lexington in May. Since January, rents have increased 18% in Fayette County.
The City of Boston posted information highlighting resources for tenants who are facing eviction.
The Detroit Free Press reports that Michigan renters with active eviction cases can apply to the COVID Emergency Rental Assistance (CERA) program through the end of July. CERA stopped accepting new applications on June 30, but the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) said renters who have not applied to the program before and who have an ongoing eviction case can apply for aid by July 31. MSHDA has spent approximately $800 million in federal rental assistance and still has $300 million to pay out. According to the statewide dashboard, as of July 12, more than 70,000 applications still need to be processed.
The number of people requesting rental assistance in Rochester, Minnesota, has risen sharply since January due to the expiration of the state’s eviction moratorium and programs like Rent Help MN.
The Missouri Independent highlights Kansas City’s new right-to-counsel program. Since the program launched on June 1, the contracted attorneys have taken on nearly 140 new cases. The program, which will cost about $2.5 million a year, will be funded primarily through federal COVID-19 relief funds. The remaining costs will be covered through federal funds funneled through the Missouri Housing Development Corporation, which as of July 8 has awarded $6.1 million in federal relief funds to 38 groups statewide providing legal aid and other housing stability services.
As of July 8, the Missouri Housing Development Corporation’s State Assistance for Housing Relief Program (SAFHR) has distributed over $355.8 million in federal COVID-19 housing relief to Missourians, including over $344.6 million in rental assistance and over $11.2 million in aid to homeowners.
Community Services League (CSL) and United Way of Greater Kansas City are continuing their partnership to implement and administer an additional $25 million through Jackson County’s federal rental assistance.
Together Omaha – a member of NLIHC’s ERASE project cohort – released a report on emergency rental assistance (ERA) spending on June 13. The report, “Delaying the Eviction Wave: An Evaluation of the Emergency Rental Assistance Program in Omaha,” provides local data – obtained through public record requests from the city of Omaha – about the demographics and neighborhoods served by the ERA program. The data illustrate the tremendous amount of COVID-related need in Omaha and help pinpoint specific neighborhoods for continued assistance. According to the report, ERA effectively prevented more than 7,400 evictions in Omaha from April 2021 to April 2022. Maps and statistical analysis of ERA disbursement show that South Omaha is underserved by the ERA program based on its demographics.
Nebraska will continue accepting applications for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program through September 9. There are separate application processes for residents of Lancaster County, Douglas County, and residents under the Northern Ponca Tribal Housing Authority. Residents of the City of Lincoln and the City of Omaha have an additional application opportunity through their cities.
New Jersey tenants who need rental assistance had another chance to receive aid starting on July 11. Renters were able to fill out pre-applications to enter a lottery for the State Rental Assistance Program (SRAP) in the Elderly, Family, Disabled and Homeless categories, the Department of Community Affairs (DCA) said. The state will accept 1,000 pre-applications in each category. The pre-application portal remained open until Friday, July 22.
The need for housing assistance is surging in Hamilton County, and the organizations that provide assistance are struggling to meet the rising demand.
The Oklahoman reports that evictions are rising in Oklahoma County amid skyrocketing rents and dwindling emergency rental assistance (ERA) funds. The number of evictions in Oklahoma County has increased by up to 56% above average in the past several months and has been rising since the end of the federal eviction moratorium in August 2021. More than 12,000 households have received ERA through Oklahoma City and Oklahoma County, with a total of $34.4 million in federal ERA spent.
Oregon has committed virtually all of its $389 million in federal and state money for emergency rental assistance (ERA) to more than 60,000 households. The state reported that the funds distributed over the past year helped more than 100,000 people remain in their homes during the pandemic. As ERA winds down, the state and the community action agencies with which it partners can use the $100 million approved by the state legislature in December 2021 for eviction prevention. The state will use additional federal funds for eviction prevention.
The Delaware County Council unanimously approved a measure in June to expand the county’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program by $2.4 million. Since the program launched in April 2021, more than 22,000 households have applied for assistance, and more than 9,500 households have received aid.
Evictions in Jefferson County, Texas, are skyrocketing due to spikes in rent and job losses. The county recently received nearly $5 million in federal emergency rental assistance. The county averaged about 10 eviction cases per week pre-pandemic. Several months ago, the county had about 20 eviction cases per week, but now it is seeing up to 40 cases a week.
The Houston Chronicle reports that in the past 15 months, eviction defense attorneys have filed at least half a dozen cases alleging that justices of the peace have disregarded pandemic tenant protections. The attorneys have asked Harris County civil judges to decide whether justice of the peace rulings adhere to the law. The eviction defense lawyers argue that the justices of the peace, the elected judges who make decisions on hundreds of evictions cases a day, are operating as “kingdoms,” with many interpreting emergency eviction protections in idiosyncratic and often wrong ways.
Hundreds of renters are facing eviction from the Pointe at River City complex in Henrico County next month – less than a month after statewide tenant protections expired in Virginia. While state-level eviction protections expired at the end of June, federal protections for tenants whose landlords receive federal funding remain in place. According to NLIHC’s database, the complex in Henrico is covered by protections included in the “Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act” (CARES Act). The Virginia Poverty Law Center says tenants successfully persuaded a judge to continue their cases because the landlord did not comply with federal regulations.
Nearly 38,000 households in King County have received a combined $332.6 million in emergency rental assistance (ERA) since the county program launched in August 2020. Crosscut reports that more than 200 residents of King County have filed formal grievances through the Housing Justice Project about emergency rental assistance denials. Crosscut argues that it is still important to understand the challenges the program experienced and how it has since been restructured, especially as the county considers making the pandemic-era ERA program permanent.
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
U.S. Department of the Treasury