House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC) released on August 31 a new episode of “Clyburn Chronicles,” the congressman’s podcast, featuring NLIHC’s Diane Yentel discussing how the affordable housing crisis has been shaped by racial disparities and the COVID-19 pandemic. Listen to the episode here.
CNN reports on the slow distribution of emergency rental assistance. “The money is getting out much too slowly, and it may not reach many of these families in time,” said NLIHC President and CEO Diane Yentel.
Politico reports Texas has emerged as one of the most efficient states in distributing federal emergency rental assistance (ERA) funds. The state, cities, and counties have teamed up to disburse ERA, now totaling at least $616 million — nearly half of Texas’ initial batch of funds. NLIHC’s Diane Yentel credits the state’s success to program administrators’ willingness to learn from their mistakes and course correct.
State and Local News
As of September 5, more than 24,000 eviction cases have been filed in Maricopa County this year, and the number is expected to rise due to the Supreme Court’s decision to invalidate the federal eviction moratorium.
Representative Clyburn (D-SC) has dubbed Arkansas one of the most sluggish states in distributing rental assistance, sending the state one of five letters given to the lowest-performing states. Of the $173 million available, only $7.2 million has been given to landlords and utility companies. According to KATV, Arkansas has not waived the landlord participation requirement, which is a factor in the slow disbursement of funds.
The Los Angeles Times outlines resources for Angelenos to apply for rental relief as the California eviction moratorium expires on October 1.
The Denver Post reports Governor Jared Polis on September 4 extended an executive order to provide Coloradoans 30 days (rather than 10 days) to pay back rent if they have a pending emergency rental assistance application. The order also returns over $16 million from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment back to the Disaster Emergency Fund.
Governor Ned Lamont signaled on September 2 he would look to extend at least one of his emergency orders beyond its September 30 expiration date to preserve an eviction diversion policy. Governor Lamont told News8 he will ask the legislature to extend his executive order requiring landlords to offer state assistance before sending an eviction notice.
The Sarasota Herald-Tribune reports that only 19% of Sarasota County’s rental assistance funds have been distributed. Advocates say this is due to a rigorous application process that requires many types of documentation from both the tenants and landlord.
A pastor and his wife in Macon went door-to-door on behalf of the United Way to get the word out about available resources for people facing eviction. The United Way says more than 500 evictions are filed in Macon, and local homeless shelters are full.
Hawaii Public Radio explains how the eviction mediation process works in Hawaii. Act 57 changed the state’s eviction procedures for non-payment of rent and encourages landlords and tenants first to enter mediation before evictions proceed to the courts. Since Hawaii’s moratorium ended, the Mediation Center of the Pacific saw an influx in mediation notices.
The Idaho Statesman reports that Jesse Tree, a Boise-based nonprofit focused on homelessness prevention, reported a spike in eviction filings after the Supreme Court overturned the CDC eviction moratorium. Ada and Canyon counties had 23 eviction court hearings combined, double what the nonprofit had been seeing in the previous few weeks.
In the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the CDC eviction moratorium, Maryland housing advocates and attorneys are gearing up for an onslaught of evictions. Thousands of households are at risk for eviction statewide, with minority and women-led households – especially women of color – particularly at risk. About $17 million of the $258 million in federal ERA funds have been distributed, with $30 million pending disbursement.
Housing advocates warn that Black and Latino renters in Maryland will face disproportionate harm as evictions resume.
Acting Mayor Kim Janey and Boston health officials on August 31 announced an eviction moratorium effective immediately. The Boston Public Health Commission will keep the moratorium in place as long as necessary.
Eleven tenants interviewed for a WBUR story about evictions on Massachusetts’s south coast said their eviction cases concluded without them ever learning about the federal eviction moratorium. In a review of every eviction case filed in Fall River and New Bedford last February, WBUR found that the CDC moratorium was mentioned in just two of 82 eviction cases against unrepresented tenants, which comprised the vast majority of tenants facing eviction.
MinnPost reports that Minnesota state and local governments have released only 13% of the emergency rental assistance (ERA) funds they received in December. Minnesota tenants who are not eligible for ERA or do not have a pending ERA application can be evicted starting October 12.
Governor Kathy Hochul on September 2 signed new legislation extending the moratorium on COVID-related evictions until January 15, 2022. The law expands the Emergency Rental Assistance Program and creates the nation’s strongest eviction protections. Learn more about New York’s eviction moratorium here.
The Journal Record reports a nonprofit organization that Oklahoma contracted to distribute the majority of the state’s federal emergency rental assistance (ERA) funds has a backlog of 13,000 requests for aid, prompting the program to close applications for the next six weeks. Of the nearly $310 million in federal ERA funds, only 17.4% have been distributed. Restore Hope Ministries, which serves a 20-county region and is partnering with the city of Tulsa and Tulsa County, says about 9,000-10,000 applications are awaiting approval.
The Tulsa Landlord-Tenant Resource Center is now offering on-site ERA application stations for landlords. At these stations, tenants can get help completing an application, upload required documents, ask questions about a pending application, and receive information about tenants rights/responsibilities.
Governor Daniel McKee and the Rhode Island Housing Authority on August 31 approved a new policy to speed the distribution of emergency rental assistance (ERA). Under the new policy, RI Housing will approve applications even if they are missing nonessential information or have minor errors. The department will work to address the missing information after the application is approved. Governor McKee believes this policy change will increase accessibility to all eligible renters. Learn more at: RentReliefRI
Texas Housers released its second report on Texas ERA programs, evaluating how funds have been disbursed through July 2021.
The Seattle Times reports advocates for tenants and landlords sent a joint letter to King County Executive Dow Constantine on September 2 urging him to make immediate changes to the county’s emergency rental assistance (ERA) program. The letter urges the county to “immediately remove barriers and artificial delays to the program” by complying with Treasury’s revised guidance.
Washington State’s COVID-19 utility moratorium ends on September 30. State leaders are urging customers who are behind on energy and water bills to contact their utilities as soon as possible and make a plan to keep their services on. State officials and utility operators estimate more than 500,000 Washingtonians have overdue bills that could result in utility shut-off. Learn about available utility assistance.
Department of Housing and Urban Development
- COVID-19 Homeless System Response: ESG-CV Reporting Guidance – September 2021