Department of the Treasury
The U.S. Department of the Treasury (Treasury) released on May 2 the March ERA report and a report on 2021 ERA1 Demographic Percentages by State. Read NLIHC’s Memo articles for more information on Treasury’s March ERA spending data and the new state-level demographic data.
Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Wally Adeyemo visited an affordable housing services center in Los Angeles County on May 2. During the visit, he highlighted how California is using American Rescue Plan funds to keep families housed and build more affordable housing. California has budgeted over $7.4 billion of its State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) for housing, including more than $5 billion to expand affordable housing and meet the needs of people experiencing homelessness. Treasury has also released a factsheet about the use of SLFRF for housing investments around the country.
NPR reports that eviction filings continue to increase sharply as federal emergency rental assistance funds start to run out. NLIHC President and CEO Diane Yentel raised the concern that evictions may eventually stabilize at a rate higher than pre-pandemic levels, partly due to rising rent costs. In some cities, eviction filings rates have reached 150% and even 200% of pre-pandemic averages.
The Associated Press reported on HUD’s May 9 announcement that it will double the size of its eviction protection program with a $20 million grant providing legal services and representation for families facing eviction.
State and Local News
The California COVID-19 Rent Relief Program has distributed $3.1 billion in rent and utility assistance to more than 275,000 households. California is using American Rescue Plan Act funds to keep Californians housed through several other programs, including Project Homekey, the Mortgage Assistance Program, and the Housing Accelerator Program.
According to the Long Beach Post, legal aid providers and housing advocates are concerned about a potential rise in evictions after city and state emergency rental assistance programs closed on March 30.
The Florida Department of Children and Families announced on May 10 that it would stop accepting applications for the OUR Florida program on May 12. The program has distributed over $1.3 billion in rent and utility assistance to more than 228,000 families.
The Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County is partnering with St. Lucie County to offer eviction prevention and diversion programs, including legal aid and other services to historically underserved communities in Southeast Florida.
The Boise City Council approved about $6.5 million in federal emergency rental assistance (ERA) on May 10. In partnership with Boise City Ada County Housing Authority, the city has provided $15 million in federal ERA to more than 3,200 households.
According to a new report from the Louisville Office of Resilience and Community Services, a surge in federal aid allowed the city to provide unprecedented levels of assistance in the last two years. More than 42,000 households have avoided eviction in Louisville since 2020 due to the Louisville Metro’s efforts in partnership with local nonprofits. The report finds that these impacts were most significant for communities of color.
Jefferson County tenants and landlords can now apply for rent relief through Team Kentucky’s Healthy at Home Eviction Relief Fund. As of April 29, Louisville had spent all its rental assistance funding, leaving many residents at risk of eviction. Lexington residents should continue to apply for aid through the Fayette County program.
The Calvert County Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) stopped accepting new applications due to limited funding. All remaining funds will be used for high-priority ERAP applicants.
The Detroit City Council on May 10 passed a right-to-counsel ordinance that provides free legal representation for low-income Detroiters facing eviction. The program will be initially funded with $6 million in Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds provided through the American Rescue Plan Act, from a total of $18 million over three years.
According to the Minnesota Star-Tribune, the number of evictions filed in Minnesota in April 2022 was nearly 60% higher than the pre-pandemic average for that month. Evictions filed in Anoka County in April were twice as high as the pre-pandemic average, and Hennepin and other counties also saw evictions double or almost double. Housing advocates say the rise in filings reflects a need for systemic changes and significant investments in affordable housing.
Omaha received an additional $61 million in federal emergency rental assistance funds, including $50 million from Nebraska and $11 million in reallocated funds from across the country.
The New York Times reports that since New York’s eviction moratorium expired in mid-January, tenants have been forced from their homes in more than 500 cases. Legal Services NYC and the Legal Aid Society have called on the court to slow the speed of eviction cases moving through the system, but housing courts have rejected the request.
Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS) has received $16 million in federal emergency rental assistance (ERA) funds and is processing payment applications submitted through the Oregon Emergency Rental Assistance Program (OERAP), which stopped accepting applications on March 21, 2022. As of May 6, the agency has paid out $340.3 million in ERA to 51,780 households.
As a follow-up to the Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania’s February 2022 report, “Revealing Opportunities and Challenges: An Analysis of Eviction Filings in Pennsylvania,” the Alliance released case studies on the eviction prevention programs in Chester County and Berks County.
RIHousing announced on May 3 that RentReliefRI will stop accepting applications on June 1 because all remaining funds will soon be spent. More than 27,000 Rhode Island households have been approved for assistance since the program launched in March 2021.
KHOU 11 reports that eviction filings in Texas are climbing at an alarming rate, and the troubling trend does not seem to be slowing down. Eviction filings in Harris County spiked after the federal eviction moratorium was lifted in August 2021 and have surpassed the number of cases filed before the pandemic.
The City of San Antonio is one of the recipients of a second wave of funding from HUD’s Eviction Protection Grant Program. The grant will fund legal services and representation for families facing eviction and help landlords access emergency rental assistance. According to the San Antonio Express-News, San Antonio tied with Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma, Legal Services of New Jersey, Northern Manhattan Improvement Corporation, and West Tennessee Legal Services for the largest award: $2.4 million.
With rental assistance funds dwindling, housing advocates in Virginia predict a spike in evictions in the coming weeks. Evictions have been on the rise over the past several months. Since the end of February, 77 eviction hearings have taken place in Charlottesville and 260 in Albemarle County.
The City of Spokane will receive nearly $5.6 million from the Washington State Department of Commerce to support its emergency rental assistance (ERA) program. Since June 2021, Spokane has distributed nearly $27 million in ERA funds to more than 2,740 households.
Department of Housing and Urban Development