US Supreme Court Overturns CDC Eviction Moratorium

On Thursday, August 26, the United States Supreme Court vacated the stay that has allowed the current CDC eviction moratorium to continue. The order vacating the stay and dissent arguing to keep the stay can be found here. It confirms lower court decisions that the CDC did not have statutory authority to impose a nationwide eviction moratorium and states, “If a federally imposed eviction moratorium is to continue, Congress must specifically authorize it. The application to vacate stay presented to THE CHIEF JUSTICE and by him referred to the Court is granted.”

The Court order placed considerable responsibility on Congress to act on a federal eviction moratorium, “It is up to Congress, not the CDC, to decide whether the public interest merits further action here. And Congress was on notice that a further extension would almost surely require new legislation, yet it failed to act in the several weeks leading up to the moratorium’s expiration.”

NAHRO continues to meet and work with HUD to develop solutions that will provide housing authorities the flexibility to minimize local evictions and will provide additional information when it becomes available. NAHRO encourages housing authorities, landlords, and tenants to work together to avoid COVID related evictions and to review HUD’s Eviction Prevention and Stability Toolkit for information and best practices. A White House Fact Sheet has also been released that provides additional actions that are being taken to prevent eviction and increase access to emergency rental assistance funds.

$95 Million Awarded to Protect from Lead-Based Paint and Other Hazards

On August 26, HUD announced awards for nearly $95 million to 28 state and local government agencies to protect children and families from lead-based paint and other home health hazards. The grants are through the Lead Based Paint Hazard Reduction (LBPHR) Grant Program. The grants also include more than $12 million from HUD’s Healthy Homes Supplemental funding. A list of the grantees can be found here.

FY 2021 CoC NOFO Released

On August 18, HUD released its FY 2021 Continuum of Care (CoC) Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO). Through the NOFO, over $2.6 billion in competitive funding will be made available to homeless services organization across the country for supportive services and housing programs for people experiencing homelessness. The NOFO will also provide an addition $102 million for new rapid re-housing, supportive services, and other activities critical to assist survivors of domestic violence, date violence, sexual assault, or stalking. This is the first CoC NOFO to be released since the COVID-19 pandemic as HUD was granted the authority to renew grants without a NOFO in FY 2020. The NOFO is available at Applications are due November 16, 2021.

CoCs can renew existing projects, apply for new projects, and reallocate resources from lower performing projects to better serve people experiencing homelessness. The FY 2021 NOFO also invites Indian Tribes and Tribally Designated Housing entities (TDHE) to apply for grants. HUD is specifically seeking projects that:

  • End homelessness for all persons experiencing homelessness;
  • Use a Housing First approach;
  • Reduce unsheltered homelessness and reduce the criminalization of homelessness;
  • Improve system performance;
  • Partner with housing and health agencies, including to leverage and coordinate American Rescue Plan resources;
  • Advance racial equity and addressing racial disparities in homelessness; and
  • Engage people with lived experience of homelessness in decision-making

The NOFO is available at Applications are due November 16, 2021.

Senate Committee Holds Nomination Hearing for HUD Officials

On Aug. 5, the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee held a nomination hearing for three Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Assistant Secretary Designates. The first nominee, Julia R. Gordon, is the Assistant Secretary Designate for the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). Gordon spoke about her extensive experience in housing-related positions, including at the Center for Responsible Lending, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, and the National Community Stabilization Trust.

Dave Uejio is nominated for Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity (FHEO). He currently serves as the Acting Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. In his testimony, Uejio said he has a deep commitment to addressing and preventing housing discrimination. Finally, Solomon Greene is nominated for Assistant Secretary for Policy, Development and Research. Greene, a Senior Fellow at the Urban Institute, testified:

“A home is more than a roof over your head – it is also a platform for health and wellbeing and a downpayment on your children’s future. Throughout my career, I have strived to give every family the opportunities I was given by studying policies and programs that expand options for safe, stable and affordable housing.”

Chairman Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) opened the hearing by expressing support for the nominees. He listed their relevant experience and noted the committee had collectively received hundreds of support letters for the nominees. Ranking Member Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) then brought up his concern that some of nominees appeared to support defunding the police in their past Twitter posts.

Two other senators, Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) and Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) questioned the nominees about the alleged Twitter posts and articles they had written related to defunding the police. In response, Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) asked each nominee whether they support defunding the police. Each nominee responded, “No, I do not.”

Committee members questioned the witnesses on several other topics, including pandemic-related housing issues, affordable homeownership, and racial equity in housing. Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) asked the nominees about the Housing Choice Voucher program, citing his Family Stability and Opportunity Vouchers Act. Greene responded that there are not enough housing vouchers to meet the need, and there is a lack of affordable housing stock on the supply side of the issue.

The recorded hearing and written nominee testimonies are available on the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs website.

Bipartisan Infrastructure Agreement Explained: Yes, You Still Need to Send Letters

On Sunday, Congress unveiled the details of a bipartisan infrastructure agreement. The agreement unfortunately does not include any housing provisions, but this package is just the first step in what will be a complicated, multi-step infrastructure package. So, you’re not off the hook on your August advocacy letters this week.

The bipartisan agreement is the product of months of negotiations between the White House and a bipartisan group of Senators. In June, the group announced that it had reached a deal for a nearly $1 trillion package but had been hammering out the specific details of the legislative text since that announcement. The bill text was released over the weekend and the Senate has been working on passage of the bipartisan agreement this week.

The bipartisan package will be accompanied by a budget resolution, which the Senate has yet to craft but is expected soon. The resolution will allow Democrats to move a second, larger infrastructure package without needing the support of their Republican colleagues, who do not agree with the size or scope of the package being discussed. This process is known as reconciliation.  

The House will consider both the bipartisan agreement and approve a reconciliation package. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Cali.) has indicated that she will not allow the bipartisan agreement to pass without the reconciliation package.

Housing is expected, but not guaranteed, to be included in this larger reconciliation package. Since the details of the reconciliation package have yet to be determined, your letters this week are timely and incredibly important to this process. The more we speak up in support of housing as infrastructure, the more Congressional offices know that it is a priority for constituents.

Make sure your voice is heard this week in support of housing and community development programs in the infrastructure reconciliation package- send a letter every day to remind your Congressional offices and the White House that housing is critical infrastructure.

CDC Extends Modified Eviction Moratorium

On August 3, 2021, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), signed an order halting evictions between August 3, 2021 and October 3, 2021 in areas rapidly increasing COVID cases. The order is very similar to the previous CDC eviction moratorium that was in place from September 4, 2020 through July 31, 2021 as definitions of “covered persons” and “eviction” remain the same. Additionally tenants that have already signed a Declaration Form do not need to sign a new one and new declaration must be accepted in applicable areas.

The major change is where the August 3rd eviction moratorium applies, “This Order applies in U.S. counties experiencing substantial and high levels of community transmission levels of SARS-CoV-2 [COVID] as defined by the CDC, as of August 3, 2021.” During comments at the White House today, President Biden said that the new CDC eviction moratorium would cover about 90% of renters. On CDC COVID Data Tracker, the community transmission rate for individual counties can be found. The new eviction order allows for the applicable counties to change. The order will apply to counties that enter substantial or high community transmission levels after August 3, 2021, on the date the county enters substantial or high level. Counties that are no longer experiencing high or substantial levels of community transmission for 14 consecutive days will no longer have the order apply to them unless they again experience substantial or high levels of community transmissions while the order is in effect.

NAHRO supports the CDC putting in place a modified eviction moratorium until October 3 which will allow for continued and additional emergency rental assistance program (ERAP) funds to reach eligible tenants and landlords. NAHRO encourages the Administration, Congress, ERAP grantees, landlords, and tenants to work together to simplify and streamline the distribution of ERAP funds to eligible tenants and landlords so the eviction moratorium is not needed after October 3, 2021. NAHRO also encourages the Treasury Department and ERAP grantees to engage HUD and the thousands of local Public Housing Authorities to maximize the outreach and communication to eligible landlords and tenants.