NLIHC and the National Housing Law Project (NHLP) led 47 housing and tenant rights organizations in a November 8 letter to HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge urging HUD to take critical steps to protect residents of HUD-assisted properties from eviction. While data is not collected on how many evictions take place in HUD-assisted properties, a survey of legal services attorneys conducted by NHLP found an alarming number of HUD evictions around the country. These households are disproportionately Black and Latino families, headed by women, older adults, and people with disabilities with extremely low incomes.
The letter requests HUD use its authority to act more comprehensively to prevent evictions by amending a recent Interim Final Rule (IFR) from the department (see Memo, 10/17) to “reflect the needs of families facing housing instability.” Recommendations include requiring HUD owners and public housing authorities (PHAs) to apply for rental assistance prior to an eviction for nonpayment of rent and issuing directives regarding rent policies that include $0 minimum rent and retroactive rent recertifications. In a previous memo to HUD, NHLP outlined the department’s legal authority to increase eviction protections for renters in HUD-assisted properties.
“We are calling on HUD today to use its authority to prevent evictions in its own housing,” said Deborah Thrope, deputy director of NHLP, in a press release for the letter. “It is inexcusable that HUD is still allowing people to be put on the street during the pandemic, when there are billions of dollars in rental assistance still available. HUD should do everything in its power to make sure tenants and landlords are working together to apply for emergency funds.”
“Evictions risk lives and push families deeper into poverty,” said Diane Yentel, president and CEO of NLIHC. “While HUD’s latest rule aims to ensure HUD-assisted households are better able to access emergency rental assistance, HUD must do more to ensure the nation’s lowest-income renters – who remain at the greatest risk of eviction –keep a roof over their heads during the ongoing pandemic.”
Read the letter at: tinyurl.com/43fpje4v