Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
Participating Jurisdictions (PJs) developing non-congregate shelter (NCS) units with HOME Investment Partnerships-American Rescue Plan (HOME-ARP) program funding are required to consider the availability of ongoing operating funds to make projects viable because HOME-ARP funds cannot be used for operating costs. HUD released a guide to familiarize PJs with the Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG) program, a potential source of ongoing operating funds for HOME-ARP NCS. Read the HOME-ARP Guide to ESG for PJs Developing NCS.
Department of the Treasury
The U.S. Department of the Treasury and the federal Office of Evaluation Sciences released a new report, Equity in the Distribution of the Emergency Rental Assistance Program. Read Memo, 10/11 to learn more.
State and Local News
San Francisco temporarily halted accepting applications for the emergency rental assistance (ERA) program due to a backlog of applications. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, officials estimate that about 2,250 households from the more than 4,500 existing applicants will be eligible for the remaining $43 million in local funds.
The Los Angeles City Council approved a new $3 million rental aid program for tenants and landlords on October 4. The program would provide up to $5,000 per household for renters in the 13th District who make 80% or less of the area median income. After months of grappling with arguments from both renters and landlords, the council also voted to end renter eviction protections due to COVID-19 hardship on January 31 and to allow landlords to resume increasing rent on rent-controlled apartments beginning in February 2024.
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted on October 4 to advance a proposal that would increase the threshold for non-payment of rent evictions, which would allow renters to fall behind on about a month's rent without facing eviction. Increasing the threshold would give tenants time to catch up on the payment before losing their housing. The temporary COVID-19 eviction protections are set to expire after December 31. Under normal rules, renters can face eviction within just days of falling behind on rent.
Eviction filings in Denver have returned to pre-pandemic levels, as federal funding for rental assistance dries up and rents continue to rise. In September, 771 evictions were filed in Denver – many more than the 495 evictions filed in September 2020 and the 422 in September 2021.
The Delaware Housing Assistance Program (DEHAP) has reopened. New applications and recertifications, which were unavailable during the pause, are now accessible through the DEHAP portal. Households that submitted applications before the portal paused on September 9 have until October 14 to provide any missing documentation. To learn more, visit decovidhousinghelp.com, call (866) 935-0407, or visit one of DEHAP’s Community Navigators.
Delaware’s COVID-19 emergency shelter program, which has housed thousands of individuals in motels over the past two years, ended on October 1. The 189 households that were residing in hotels now need new accommodations, and service providers are concerned that they will not be able to meet the surge in demand for shelter beds, transportation, and storage. School-age children started appearing at a large tent encampment outside of Georgetown in August as shelter services ended, signaling a worrying rise in child homelessness.
The Kansas Emergency Rental Assistance (KERA) program has provided more than 75,000 Kansans and 10,000 housing and service providers more than $250 million in rental and utility assistance, preventing thousands of evictions and funding services for more than 30,000 families at risk of losing their homes. The program has nearly exhausted all funds and will wind down in the coming months. The City of Wichita has exhausted all its emergency rental assistance funding.
After an unanticipated uptick in demand for emergency rental assistance, MaineHousing is halting new applications for assistance while waiting to hear whether a request for $55 million in additional funding will be approved by the U.S. Department of the Treasury. MaineHousing is working through about 11,000 pending applications that the agency will be able to approve with existing funds. Rising rents, housing shortages, and continued economic hardship due to the pandemic have led to a demand for program services.
The number of people experiencing homelessness in South Mississippi is on the rise after Governor Tate Reeves ended the state’s emergency rental assistance program. Advocates say that the governor’s decision to end the program is forcing more families to live outside or in vehicles.
According to a survey conducted by Connection Grounds, a religious nonprofit that serves low-income people and those experiencing homelessness in Springfield, 44% of the 204 people surveyed became homeless during the pandemic. The study asked respondents about barriers to employment, and 64% responded that stable shelter is the biggest barrier.
New Hampshire’s Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) program has provided more than $230 million in rental and utility assistance statewide, including about $17 million to residents of Cheshire and Sullivan counties.
An increasing number of New Jersey residents are falling behind on their rent, with 24% of residents behind on their rent payments. New Jersey ranks third among the states with the highest percentage of renters behind on rent. Only Alabama (25%) and South Dakota (26%) had higher percentages of renters that owe back rent. New Jersey renter households with incomes below 120% of the area median income are permanently protected against eviction for nonpayment of rent that accrued from March 1, 2020, through August 31, 2021. Additionally, low- and moderate-income households that have applied for state or local emergency rental assistance and that experienced an economic impact due to the pandemic are protected from eviction for unpaid rent accrued through December 31, 2021.
The City of Kettering is requesting an additional $750,000 in federal emergency rental assistance (ERA) funds from Montgomery County to help south suburban residents avoid eviction. The city has already received more than $4 million in federal ERA funds allocated to support renters in Kettering, Centerville, Moraine, and Washington Township. Kettering has approved $4.36 million in ERA assistance for recipients, but the demand for aid remains strong.
The Columbus Dispatch reports that Ohio is on its way to spending its $560 million allocation of federal emergency rental assistance (ERA). Ohio has been slow to distribute ERA: after transferring $100 million in ERA to local governments, the state has yet to distribute about 66% of its funds. Ohio recently transferred an additional $40 million in ERA funds to local governments, including $20 million to Columbus and Franklin County and at least $15 million to Cincinnati and Hamilton County. Eviction filings in Ohio are rising, with filings currently about 88% of pre-pandemic levels, and unsheltered homelessness appears to be increasing in many areas across the state.
Renter protections tied to Oregon’s COVID-19 emergency rental assistance program expired on September 30. Under the protections, Oregon tenants who had applied for emergency rental assistance had “safe harbor” protection from eviction for nonpayment of rent. Now, landlords can resume the use of 72-hour eviction notices for nonpayment of rent and evict tenants for back rent that tenants did not pay during the pandemic.
According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Philadelphia City Council is considering extending the Eviction Diversion Program through the first half of 2024. The program launched in September 2020 and was extended through 2022 in December 2020. The city council and Mayor Jim Kenney’s administration allocated $45 million in rental assistance for the continuation of the program in the current and next fiscal years. Eighty percent of the more than 2,000 participating landlords and tenants no longer in mediation from September 2020 through the first week of January 2022 reached an agreement.
Shelby County stopped accepting new applications for its emergency rental assistance (ERA) program and is working through applications for its remaining funds. According to NLIHC’s ERA tracking, which was updated on September 27, Tennessee had approved only about 36% of its ERA1 funds. Shelby County, however, has used approximately $93 million of its $132 million allocation of rental assistance funds. While the county is no longer accepting applications, residents are encouraged to apply for rental assistance with the state.
The Texas Tribune reports that due to rising housing costs and relentless inflation, an increasing number of Texans are struggling to pay their rent and remain in their homes. COVID-era emergency rental assistance, eviction protections, and expanded unemployment benefits offered a safety net for low-income Texans impacted by the economic fallout from the pandemic. These protections and resources, however, have largely expired, leaving some Texans at risk of eviction and homelessness.
Since the summer of 2021, Virginia Poverty Law Center’s eviction hotline has seen a 500% increase in the number of individuals reaching out for help. The organization temporarily stopped taking new applications in September due to the overwhelming demand for assistance. Advocates attribute the skyrocketing need to the end of COVID-era renter protections and emergency rental assistance.
Without COVID-era eviction protections and financial assistance, evictions are rising across the D.C. region. The number of evictions in Prince George’s County, Maryland, and across D.C. is the highest it has been since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Virginia is also experiencing an increase in evictions. Monthly eviction filings in Virginia as of September are at 87.5% of the historical average, and monthly filings have tripled since January.
Department of Housing and Urban Development
Addressing Your Concerns about the Updated COVID-19 Booster – October 2022
COVID-19 Homeless System Response: Housing Problem-Solving – Prevention Strategies – October 2022