HUD Makes Over $19 Million Available to Fight Housing Discrimination
HUD, July 21, 2021, Press Release
HUD announced that it is making $19.4 million available to help HUD Fair Housing Initiatives Program (FHIP) agencies conduct activities that will address discriminatory housing practices related to the COVID-19 pandemic. These ARP funds may be used by fair housing organizations to equitably expand housing enforcement services for underserved populations who need their services the most. Underserved populations include individuals making fair housing complaints who come from low-income backgrounds and persons with disabilities, as well as people of color, including African Americans, Hispanics, and Asian American and Pacific Islanders. Applicants for the funding may also propose new fair housing projects relating to discriminatory practices arising in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic.
CNN Business, July 15, 2021, Anna Bahney
Housing has become so expensive in the United States that the typical minimum wage worker cannot afford rent, according to a new report.
There is no state, county or city in the country where a full-time, minimum-wage worker working 40 hours a week can afford a two-bedroom rental, a report from the National Low Income Housing Coalition showed.
A full-time minimum-wage worker can afford a one-bedroom rental in only 7% of all US counties — 218 counties out of more than 3,000 nationwide.
The federal minimum wage is $7.25.
Supreme Court Leaves National Eviction Ban in Place
Route-Fifty, June 30, 2021, Andrea Noble
The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday issued a ruling allowing a national eviction moratorium to remain in place, rejecting a plea by landlords to strike the ban before it expires next month.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last week extended the moratorium through July 31, indicating it would be the final such extension.
A lower court judge had struck down the ban, finding the CDC had overstepped its legal authority in issuing the nationwide moratorium. The decision was stayed however, and the ban remained active while the case was petitioned to the Supreme Court.
Kavanaugh wrote in a brief decision issued Tuesday that he agreed with the lower court ruling, but that the temporary nature of the moratorium swayed his vote.
“Because the CDC plans to end the moratorium in only a few weeks, on July 31, and because those few weeks will allow for additional and more orderly distribution of the congressionally appropriated rental assistance funds, I vote at this time to deny the application to vacate the District Court’s stay of its order,” he wrote.
Were the CDC to attempt to extend the moratorium again, Kavanaugh wrote that congressional authorization would be necessary.
800,000 older Americans risk eviction once COVID moratorium expires July 31
The Motley Fool, June 25, 2021, Maurie Backman
About 10% of renters over the age of 65 are behind on their rent, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. That means that about 800,000 older people risk losing their homes once the CDC's eviction ban expires.
The last two stimulus bills jointly allocated $45 billion in rental assistance funds to help tenants catch up on overdue rent. As long as they manage to get current, their landlords can't evict them on the basis of nonpayment. (The existing ban doesn't protect tenants at risk of eviction due to violating other lease terms, like having a pet when a lease prohibits it.)
FACT SHEET: Biden-Harris Administration Announces Initiatives to Promote Housing Stability By Supporting Vulnerable Tenants and Preventing Foreclosures
The White House Briefing Room, June 24, 2021, Statements and Releases
The Biden-Harris Administration announced a number of steps to keep people in their homes by protecting renters and homeowners who are still experiencing shocks from the pandemic and its economic fallout. Following the CDC’s decision to extend the eviction moratorium for one final month through July 31, 2021, the Administration is announcing a series of actions to help state and local governments prevent evictions. The Administration is also taking action to stabilize homeowners and support a return to a more stable housing market, including by extending the foreclosure moratorium for federally-backed mortgages by a final month, until July 31st.
The American Rescue Plan allocated an additional $21.5 billion for Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) that can be used by renters to cover arrears and make landlords whole. This is on top of $25 billion allocated under the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, bringing the total amount of ERA available to more than $46 billion and creating an economic and moral imperative for state and local governments to rise to the challenge of building a new infrastructure for getting emergency rental assistance to vulnerable renters and landlords.
Rueters, June 22, 2021, David Shepardson, Michelle Conlin
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) COVID-19 residential eviction moratorium set to expire June 30 is expected to be extended by another month, sources briefed on the matter told Reuters.
On Tuesday, a group of 44 U.S. lawmakers urged the extension, citing an estimate from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that about "6 million renter households are behind on their rent and at risk of eviction."
The letter to the CDC and Biden signed by Democrats lawmakers Ayanna Pressley, Jimmy Gomez, Cori Bush, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Carolyn B. Maloney and others, warned that without an extension "millions of renters will once again face the threat of eviction."
Associated Press, June 16, 2021, Ken Sweet and Michael Casey
More than 4 million people say they fear being evicted or foreclosed upon in the coming months, just as two studies released Wednesday found that the nation’s housing availability and affordability crisis is expected to worsen significantly following the pandemic.
The studies come as a federal eviction moratorium is set to expire at the end of the month. The moratorium has kept many tenants owing back rent housed. Making matters worse, the tens of billions of dollars in federal emergency rental assistance that was supposed to solve the problem has not reached most tenants.
The housing crisis, the studies found, risks widening the gap between Black, Latino and white households, as well as putting homeownership out of the reach of lower-income Americans.
Biden's Budget Includes 'Once In A Generation' Investment In Vouchers, Public Housing. Now Landlords Need To Get On Board.
Bisnow East Coast, June 6, 2021, Matthew Rothstein
President Joe Biden’s American Jobs Plan, one of the backbones of his fiscal year 2022 budget, promises over $2 trillion to the U.S. infrastructure and economy.
Amid the myriad programs, a relatively small line item in Biden’s budget could do more to house the country’s most vulnerable citizens than any government policy since before Ronald Reagan was president. The $30B allocated to the Housing Choice Vouchers program and $40B allocated to public housing would be a godsend to housing authorities across the country — if it survives Congress, where the budget’s price tag and the funding necessary to meet it have been hotly debated.
In order for the expansion of the voucher program to have its intended effect, more landlords will need to get on board with renting to its recipients and be given the support to do so. A majority of units rented to voucher recipients are owned by landlords who control six units or fewer in some cities — exactly the group hit hardest by the pandemic-driven combination of unpaid rent and eviction moratoriums.
Biden Wants to Offer More Housing Vouchers. Many Landlords Won’t Accept Them.
Route-Fifty, May 12, 2021, Kristian Hernández, Stateline
President Joe Biden wants to expand Section 8 housing assistance to more than 200,000 additional families. The administration proposed an additional $5.4 billion in hopes that housing vouchers will help low-income people at risk of homelessness because of the pandemic.
But the challenge for many voucher-holders is finding landlords willing to accept them.
Nationwide, more than 2.2 million households receive federal subsidies through the Housing Choice Voucher Program. The program, established in 1974 under Section 8 of the U.S. Housing Act, is meant to fill the gap between what families can afford to pay and local rents. But under federal law, landlords are free to reject tenants with vouchers.
HUD Announces $5 Billion to Increase Affordable Housing to Address
HUD, April 8, 2021, Press Release
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Marcia L. Fudge announced the allocation of nearly $5 billion in American Rescue Plan funds to help communities across the country create affordable housing and services for people experiencing or at risk of experiencing homelessness. Secretary Fudge made the announcement during a Zoom call with U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (OH), Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, and Birmingham, Alabama Mayor Randall Woodfin.
The supplemental funding is allocated through the HOME Investment Partnerships Program to 651 grantees, including states, insular areas, and local governments.
National Housing News
Member Update, April 5, 2021, Florida Housing Coalition
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has released the 2021 Income Limits. The new limits are effective on April 1, 2021.
HUD “sets income limits that determine eligibility for assisted housing programs including:”
- Public Housing
- Section 8 project-based
- Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher
- Section 202 housing for the elderly
- Section 811 housing for persons with disabilities programs
The agency based the 2021 Income Limits on “Median Family Income estimates and Fair Market Rent area definitions for each metropolitan area, parts of some metropolitan areas, and each non-metropolitan county.”
New Apartment Construction Declined Nationwide between 2017 and 2019: 15,000 Fewer Rental Units Were Completed in 2019 Than in 2017
US Census Bureau, March 18, 2021, George Boyd
The number of rental apartments completed in the United States in 2019 remained statistically unchanged from the previous year but dropped by 15,000 from 2017.
We looked at the characteristics of newly constructed apartments spanning 2015 to 2019, including the number of units, percentage rented in the first three months after being completed, and the median rents — both nationally and by regions.
National Housing Trust Releases Affordable Housing Update
The National Housing Trust (NHT) recently released an update of affordable housing initiatives at the federal level, which includes:
The President signed an executive order asking the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to consider immediately extending the federal eviction moratorium until at least March 31 and calling on Congress to provide additional rental assistance as part of its coronavirus relief and economic recovery “rescue plan.” The CDC announced the following day that the moratorium, which was set to expire at the end of January, would be extended through the end of March.
The Departments of Veterans Affairs (VA), Agriculture, and Housing and Urban Development (HUD) were asked to consider extending foreclosure moratoriums for federally guaranteed mortgages and continuing applications for forbearance for federally guaranteed mortgages until at least March 31. The Federal Housing Administration and the US Department of Agriculture, Rural Development announced these extensions on January 21.
The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) was asked to consider extending its foreclosure moratorium further and continue forbearance applications for all loans guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. On January 19, the FHFA extended the moratorium until February 28, 2021.
Another executive order signed by the President begins the work of embedding equity across federal policymaking and rooting out systemic racism and other barriers to opportunity from federal programs and institutions.
Amazon Pledges $2 Billion For Affordable Housing In Three Hub Cities
Forbes, January 6, 2021, Brenda Richardson
Amazon said Wednesday that it is launching a $2 billion housing equity fund to preserve and create over 20,000 affordable housing units in Washington state’s Puget Sound region; Arlington, Virginia; and Nashville—three areas where the company has or expects to have at least 5,000 employees each in the coming years.
The fund aims to preserve existing housing and create inclusive housing developments through below-market loans and grants to housing partners, traditional and non-traditional public agencies and minority-led organizations.
One-Month Eviction Moratorium, $25 Billion in Rental Aid in Covid Bill
Route-Fifty, December 21, 2020, Andrea Noble
Renters who have been unable to pay rent during the coronavirus pandemic will be protected from eviction for another month under the Covid-19 relief bill approved Monday by Congress.
The $900 billion deal agreed to by lawmakers after months of negotiations and stalemates extends the Trump administration’s previous eviction moratorium, which would have expired Dec. 31, until the end of January.
Housing shortage fuels rising cost of homes in America
CBS This Morning, September 25, 2020, CBS News
The median price of a townhouse, home or condo soared above $300,000 for the first time over the summer. The average property is selling in just 22 days, faster than ever.
That new demand has run into an old problem. Since 1960, home prices across the country have risen more than four times faster than income, and many experts say the cause is frustratingly simple: America has a housing shortage. Some 400,000 fewer homes came up for sale this summer, compared to last, according to data from the National Association of Realtors and the U.S. Census Bureau.
The Eviction Ban Worked, But It’s Almost Over. Some Landlords Are Getting Ready
ProPublica, July 25, 2020, by Jeff Ernsthausen and Ellis Simani
The CARES Act was largely successful in keeping millions of American renters from facing eviction during the pandemic. As protections fade, some landlords are gearing up to return to court.
Starting July 25, a key component of the federal eviction moratorium is set to expire, allowing landlords that operate federally backed rental properties to give their tenants 30 days’ notice to vacate. After that period, landlords can file for eviction.
Is America's Housing Ready for an Aging Population?
United States Census Bureau, June 22, 2020, Jonathan Vespa
It should come as no surprise that older Americans overwhelmingly want to stay in their home as they age. But are their homes ready for them to stay?
For millions of older Americans, home is where they raised a family, hosted holidays and told bedtime stories to their children and grandchildren. It is often their nest egg as well as an anchor to their community.
But older homes don’t always meet the needs of older Americans, according to a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau.
Feds Pump Millions Into Disability Housing As Part Of Coronavirus Relief
DisabilityScoop, June 9, 2020, Michelle Diament
Federal officials are funneling millions of dollars into new housing opportunities for people with disabilities across the nation.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development said it is making available nearly $77 million to support as many as 8,300 housing vouchers for this population.
The funding for what’s known as the Section 811 Mainstream Housing Choice Voucher Program was announced late last month and is part of the CARES Act, a large coronavirus relief package approved by Congress in March.Full article...
3D Printed Houses For The Homeless
Business Insider, March 11, 2020, by Mary Meisenzahl
Small Austin, Texas-based startup Icon is betting that 3D printing is the key to solving the US' homelessness crisis and lack of affordable housing.
Last year, nonprofit Community First put $18 million into a tiny home village in Austin to help the chronically homeless get off the street. The village had space for 180 residents, who live in 200-square-foot homes, pay about $300 in rent, and have job opportunities on site. Now, Icon is bringing its 3D printing technology into the village to hopefully speed up the process, while also making it cheaper. The first residents are set to move in this spring.More...