The White House and the U.S. Department of the Treasury (Treasury) hosted a virtual summit, “Building Lasting Eviction Prevention Reform,” on August 2. The summit addressed ways to build on the Emergency Rental Assistance Program enacted under the “American Rescue Plan” to bring about long-term eviction reform. NLIHC President and CEO Diane Yentel spoke at the summit. Watch a recording of the summit here.
The Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) Program enacted under the American Rescue Plan established a national infrastructure – the first of its kind – to prevent evictions and provide assistance to millions of at-risk tenants and their landlords. Now, as available ERA funds dwindle, it is critical that policymakers build on the success of the ERA program and the lessons learned from its implementation to bring about the sort of long-term reform that will lead to a more humane and just eviction policy. The White House summit highlighted examples of eviction prevention reforms needed to avoid a return to the unacceptable situation that existed before the pandemic. In particular, the summit focused on the need to use the momentum created by ERA to generate lasting reform, in part by drawing on remaining American Rescue Plan funds for ERA and State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund (SLFRF) assistance, and in achieving permanent authorization and funding for ERA.
NLIHC President and CEO Diane Yentel, an opening speaker at the summit, praised the ERA program. “Since its implementation, ERA has stood up more than 500 emergency rental assistance programs across the country and made over 7 million payments to renters in need,” said Diane. “Our collective efforts to ensure the ERA funds advanced equity and reached the lowest income and most marginalized people have been successful. Such an alignment of resources to those with the greatest needs happens only with deliberate and purposeful program design and outreach, as NLIHC, our partners, and the full Biden administration encouraged and enabled.” She continued: “We have clear proof of the effectiveness of ERA, and with that comes an opportunity – and bipartisan support for - making ERA a permanent program. We must do so – to maintain the infrastructure communities worked so hard to build, and to provide assistance that can help families avoid the long-term harm of evictions.”
The summit included top Administration officials, as well as Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Professor Matthew Desmond, who founded Princeton University’s Eviction Lab. The summit was also attended by a range of national, state, and local leaders who have pioneered lasting reforms that could serve as national models.
View a recording of the summit here.
Read a fact sheet on the summit published by the White House here.