The House Financial Services Committee voted 28 to 22 to approve the “Expediting Assistance to Renters and Landlords Act.” Learn more about the emergency rental assistance (ERA) reform legislation here. The legislation comes after NLIHC’s Diane Yentel testified before the committee at its September 10 hearing on ways to protect renters during the pandemic and needed reforms to ERA programs. Read Diane’s written testimony.
Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
HUD on September 15 issued the HOME-ARP Implementing CPD Notice, Requirements for the Use of Funds in the HOME-American Rescue Plan Program, which opens up access to nearly $5 billion in ARP grants to help communities create affordable housing and services for people experiencing or at risk of experiencing homelessness.
HUD released a resource, the HUD Evictions Guidance, that outlines actions HUD is taking to prevent evictions in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision to invalidate the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) eviction moratorium. If you are a renter in need of assistance, help may be available through HUD’s rent relief resources.
HUD’s Office of Special Needs Assistance Programs (SNAPS), the Treasury Department, and the White House will host a training on Friday, September 24 from 12-1 pm ET to help Continuum of Care (CoC) and Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG) program grantees learn how to help eligible families enroll in the Child Tax Credit. Register for the webinar here.
Department of Treasury
The Treasury Department announced on September 14 it will make the remaining $13 billion of second wave Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA2) funding available to high-performing state and local government grantees. Treasury also highlighted examples of the fastest ERA distributors that have already qualified or will soon qualify to receive their remaining ERA2 funds.
Politico reports the Treasury Department announced on September 14 plans to award the remaining $13 billion in federal emergency rental assistance (ERA) to high-performing state and local governments. Houston, Philadelphia, and New Orleans are among the localities expected to receive additional ERA.
Yahoo News examines how the end of the federal eviction moratorium is impacting the more than eight million Americans currently behind on rent. Just over 3.5 million people report being “likely” or “very likely” to face eviction because of the pandemic. LGBTQ+ renters are faring worse than the general population, with about 19% of LGBTQ renters behind on rent.
State and Local News
Members of Black Lives Matter and other local organizations on September 14 stood outside Birmingham City Hall and demanded that Mayor Randall Woodfin and city leaders enact an eviction moratorium. With the federal eviction moratorium no longer in effect, thousands of people across Birmingham could soon face eviction.
The Arizona Republic reports a relatively small number of landlords have accounted for a large share of eviction filings in Maricopa County. According to analysis from the Eviction Lab, the top 100 property owners with the most eviction filings in Maricopa County are responsible for more than one-quarter of the total filings since the end of June and more than 20% of all eviction filings since the beginning of the pandemic.
Arkansas made significant changes to its rent relief program, including offering a direct-to-tenant option if landlords do not submit required documentation within 10 days. Additionally, the program will now prioritize applications for tenants who have received eviction notices. The program significantly increased staffing to speed up application processing times and added a case management team. Arkansas is among five states that Congress urged to speed up the distribution of emergency rental assistance (ERA). Read NLIHC’s Memo, 9/13 for more information on other states that have made significant program changes to increase the efficiency of their programs.
Governor Gavin Newsom announced that as of September 13, California’s COVID-19 Rent Relief Program has obligated more than $1 billion in funding. $526 million of the $1 billion has already been distributed to over 44,000 low-income households. NLIHC’s Diane Yentel commended California for recognizing the need for improvements in the ERA program design and implementation and building on lessons learned to course correct.
California’s Assembly Housing chairperson announced on September 12 that the state’s eviction protections will almost certainly not be extended when they expire after September 30, as consensus does not exist among state lawmakers to extend these critical protections.
A spokesperson for Colorado’s Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) released a list of solutions to improve the state’s COVID-19 emergency rental assistance (ERA) program. DOLA will partner with the Colorado Department of Human Services to automatically income-qualify applicants who have qualified for other state programs, partner with local organizations and nonprofits, and develop a plan to contract with case managers who can provide one-on-support for tenants.
As evictions restart in Colorado Springs, $20 million in emergency rental assistance (ERA) is available to residents in need of aid. The Community Health Partnership, the administering agency for the Pikes Peak Continuum of Care, says there has been an increase from last year in the number of people experiencing homelessness who have completed housing needs assessments.
In the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision to invalidate the federal eviction moratorium, Florida Legal Rural Services has seen an uptick in evictions, new clients seeking assistance, and clients whose judgment was put on hold but now may be litigated in the coming months. The organization expects evictions to increase significantly over the next six to 12 months. More than 1,100 eviction cases are pending in Palm Beach County.
Eviction hearings resumed on September 10 in Macon Judicial Court. According to Judge Pamela White-Colbert, there were more than 70 eviction cases that day, with about 30 dismissals.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports DeKalb County has distributed nearly $8 million through its COVID-19 rent relief program. While this number is a fraction of the $21 million in federal ERA funds the county was originally allocated, officials say it suggests the pace of distribution has accelerated in recent weeks.
Evictions are now being enforced in nearly all countries throughout metro Atlanta. According to an attorney with the Housing Court Assistance Center at the Fulton County Courthouse, about 500 new eviction cases were filed in the county in the last week.
Starting September 15, Illinois renters in eviction court are able to apply for up to one year of past due rent and three months of future payments to avoid eviction. The $60 million statewide Court-Based Rental Assistance Program will allow for expedited processing and provide a designated phone number for individual court employees to ask questions about the program.
The Indiana Supreme Court established a statewide task force to address the surge of evictions following the end of the federal eviction moratorium. According to Chief Justice Loretta Rush, the nine-member task force will release recommendations in one month on implementing an eviction diversion program and speeding the distribution of rent relief.
The Lexington Tenants Union held a rally outside the Fayette County Courthouse Plaza, prompted by the end of the eviction moratorium. The Lexington Herald-Leader reports former state representative Charles Booker joined the rally and encouraged the attendees to urge their city to stop evictions.
Although Governor John Bel Edwards extended Louisiana’s eviction moratorium until September 24, housing advocates are concerned that many New Orleans residents face precarious housing situations, particularly in the wake of Hurricane Ida’s destruction. An estimated 174,000 Louisiana households are at risk of eviction when the extended moratorium ends.
WBAL-TV reports some Baltimore landlords are refusing to accept emergency rental assistance (ERA). One tenant says her landlord recommended she apply for ERA and accepted the money in January to cover her past due rent, but the landlord is now refusing to accept ERA from Baltimore City. Public Justice Center attorney Matt Hill says landlord refusal is becoming an issue in Baltimore and across the country.
The Washington Post reports that in Montgomery County, MD, advocates are going door-to-door to distribute information about the county’s emergency rental assistance (ERA) program. The advocates say that despite public outreach about the ERA program, the message has failed to reach households most in need, resulting in many tenants self-evicting.
With more than 110,000 households across Maryland behind on rent, housing advocates are urging state lawmakers to follow the lead of other state and local lawmakers and extend eviction protections.
Washtenaw County officials are rushing to distribute approximately $14 million in emergency rental assistance (ERA). The county has distributed $4 million in ERA funds, just over 22% of the county’s first ERA allocation. According to data from the National Equity Atlas, roughly 6,000 households across the county are behind on rent.
More than 2,800 evictions have been filed in Jackson County so far in 2021. Legal aid attorneys expect those numbers to increase now that the federal eviction moratorium has been invalidated. Across Missouri, 94,000 households were behind on rent as of early August.
Governor Kathy Hochul announced on September 14 significant progress in providing emergency rental assistance. The press release states that, according to NLIHC’s database, New York is now ranked first nationally in payments made or obligated, and is among the leaders in direct payments.
The Rent Stabilization Association asked a federal court to strike down Governor Hochul’s statewide eviction moratorium. The association represents 25,000 landlords in New York City, who are unsatisfied with the carve-out made to allow landlords to challenge tenant filings. The NY Daily News reports that since August 29, there are 225,000 active eviction cases.
The Ohio Supreme Court released a new resource guide to help city and county courts connect tenants and landlords to emergency rental assistance. The Judicial Guide to Eviction Diversion outlines strategies courts can take to prevent evictions. The Court says that alerting litigants that rental assistance is available will help prevent a surge of evictions and help manage a case backlog.
The Lancaster Housing and Redevelopment Authorities (LCHRA), which lead the distribution of emergency rental assistance (ERA) funds in the county, are holding multiple events to help tenants apply for rental assistance funds. These events focus on breaking down communication and technological barriers that prevent families from applying to the program. Nearly 260 households attended LCHRA’s first Rental and Utilities Assistance Community Day in July.
Rapid City Journal reports FEMA has awarded South Dakota over $250,000 from the Emergency Food and Shelter Program to provide food, shelter, rent, and utility assistance for residents experiencing non-disaster-related emergencies.
WGNS reports that Tennessee courts held a virtual summit to educate over 300 landlords, tenants, and other stakeholders about emergency rental assistance. The Tennessee Department of Health and Human Services stressed the importance of prevention, intervention, and collaboration between landlords and tenants.
The Travis County Commissioners Court voted on September 14 to allocate $110 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds to address housing and homelessness. The ARPA dollars are expected to fund over 2,000 new affordable housing units.
The Tyler Morning Telegraph reports that as COVID-19 cases rise across Texas, evictions in Smith County recently resumed. The article also notes that Governor Greg Abbott’s statewide anti-encampment law is now in effect. HB1925 bans encampments in all public areas; individuals found in violation of the law would be charged with a Class C misdemeanor and a fine of up to $500. Learn more about HB1925 here.
In partnership with the City of Donna, Hidalgo County offered in-person assistance to help tenants apply for the county’s rent relief program on Tuesday, September 14. To apply for aid, tenants can also call 1-800-555-5555 or visit this website.
As Washington State’s eviction bridge moratorium nears its expiration date, Pierce County has the highest eviction rate statewide. Starting September 30, Washington landlords will be allowed to evict tenants for nonpayment of rent; however, renters who submit a rental assistance application before that deadline will have additional time. Around 23,000 Pierce County households owe a combined $93 million in rent.
GGWash provides an overview of the effectiveness of emergency rental assistance (ERA) programs across the Washington region.
Department of Housing and Urban Development
- Notice CPD-21-10: Requirements for the Use of Funds in the HOME-ARP Program – September 13, 2021
- Notice CPD-21-10 Appendix: Waivers and Alternative Requirements for Implementation of the HOME-ARP Program – September 2021
- HOME-ARP Implementation Notice Fact Sheets – September 2021
- COVID-19 Homeless System Response, Vaccine Planning & Distribution: O’ahu Community Profile – September 2021