Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) awarded $2 million in funding on November 3 to assess the impact of the Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) program. Three awardees – Abt Associates, Princeton University, and the University of Pennsylvania in collaboration with the University of California at Berkeley – will receive the funds under the FY2022 Impact Evaluation of the Emergency Rental Assistance Program Notice of Funding Opportunity.
Department of the Treasury (Treasury)
Treasury released ERA1 and ERA2 Quarterly Demographic Data for Q1 2021 through Q2 2022 on November 2. Read NLIHC Memo, 11/14 to learn more.
Advocacy and Research
According to a new analysis from the National Consumer Law Center (NCLC), Massachusetts residential utility customers are increasingly falling behind on their utility payments and are at increased risk of having their utilities shut off, with record winter fuel prices on the way. The analysis, “COVID-driven Arrearages and Rising Energy Prices Increase Risk of Utility Shutoffs,” finds that COVID-19 severely impacted the ability of hundreds of thousands of customers to pay their bills and created a new class of struggling residential customers who previously were able to pay their bills but fell behind due to the pandemic.
NBC News reports that eviction filings have been increasing in many places since the spring and are expected to rise in the coming months as federal emergency rental assistance (ERA) runs out.
State and Local News
The Los Angeles City Council is moving forward with plans to end the city’s COVID-19 eviction protections despite increasing pressure from tenant advocates to reverse the decision. The council’s Housing Committee voted on November 9 against extending the city’s COVID-19-era eviction rules, which are set to sunset on January 31, 2023.
The Colorado Emergency Rental Assistance Program will stop accepting new applications on November 15. Previously submitted applications are still being reviewed, and those already approved will continue to be processed and paid out. Residents of Denver, Larimer, and Boulder counties may still apply for rental assistance from their local programs.
A new report from Enterprise Community Partners and Colorado Futures Center shows that pandemic protections for renters helped cut evictions in Colorado by nearly 60%. The report, A New Normal, uses data from nearly 150,000 evictions filed in Colorado county courts from July 2017 to June 2021 and analyzes eviction filings by quantity, geography, case outcomes, and whether landlords and renters had legal representation in their cases. The study finds that from 2019 to 2020, eviction filings fell by 57% as eviction moratoriums and emergency rental assistance came into effect.
The Georgia Department of Community Affairs has stopped accepting applications for emergency rental assistance due to dwindling federal funds. Housing advocates fear that Georgians who are no longer able to access federal rental assistance may be facing imminent homelessness.
On November 1, the County of Hawai‘i Office of Housing and Community Development announced that its Emergency Rental Assistance Program would begin winding down. The program has disbursed nearly $23 million in rent and utility assistance, helping more than 7,800 residents avoid eviction, utility shutoffs, and homelessness.
Idaho is proceeding to close down its emergency rental assistance program. The state’s legislature authorized the Idaho Housing and Finance Association (IHFA) to distribute $38 million in federal funds as part of the second iteration of the rental assistance program. At the end of January 2023, IHFA will stop paying forward rent and utility payments. In October – and with only a week’s notice – IHFA informed its partners that the program would not cover new hotel or motel stays.
Iowa could lose tens of millions of dollars in unspent federal emergency rental assistance if state officials do not reallocate the money to local housing initiatives.
Lafayette Parish will receive $4.8 million in additional federal emergency rental assistance (ERA) funds reallocated from the state.
MaineHousing paused new applications for its emergency rental assistance (ERA) program on September 29, 2022, due to concerns about not having enough funds. Officials do not expect to receive any additional funding from the U.S. Department of the Treasury, and the agency expects the current amount of funding to run out by the end of November. The program has served more than 33,000 people in Maine.
Applications for emergency rental assistance are no longer being accepted in Worcester and Wicomico counties. Local homeless shelters have seen an influx of families in need of housing in the past several months. Many of those shelters are already at capacity and have been forced to turn away families.
Eviction filings in Detroit are on track to return to pre-pandemic levels as temporary emergency protections expire. According to the University of Michigan’s Poverty Solutions initiative, eviction filings in Detroit had risen from historic lows to 75% of the pre-pandemic rate as of June 2022. At the current filing rate, 21% of renters – or 61,000 tenants – will face the threat of eviction this year.
The University of Michigan’s Poverty Solutions initiative released a brief, Learning from COVID-19 Eviction Response Measures in Detroit, analyzing trends in eviction filings and outcomes since the start of the pandemic using a dataset of evictions filed in Detroit between January 2019 and June 2022. The findings indicate that COVID-19 eviction response measures reduced the number of evictions in Detroit relative to past years. Even with unprecedented prevention measures in place, however, evictions remained a persistent threat. As emergency rental assistance expires and the affordable housing crisis worsens, a return to the pre-pandemic normal marks a return to mass evictions. Policymakers must act urgently to enforce existing laws, institutionalize pandemic-era programs, and enact a more just eviction and housing policy platform. Read the working paper and policy brief.
The New Jersey Department of Community Affairs will receive more than $51 million in reallocated emergency rental assistance (ERA) funds from the U.S. Department of the Treasury. The state expects to distribute the funds to between 4,100 and 4,600 of the households on the program’s waiting list. Of the 50,200 households currently on the waiting list, the state has approved more than 15,800 to receive assistance as funds become available.
The City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County stopped accepting applications for the emergency rental assistance program on November 15 due to dwindling federal funds.
Milwaukee County will receive $15 million in reallocated emergency rental assistance (ERA) funds from the U.S. Department of the Treasury. The county has distributed $65.4 million in ERA2 funds since June 2020 through a partnership with Community Advocates. The program has served 12,000 unique households.
Department of Housing and Urban Development