On March 18, HUD released its 2020 Annual Homelessness Assessment Report (AHAR). The AHAR is a summary of homelessness estimates based on data from the annual point-in-time (PIT) counts of sheltered and unsheltered people experiencing homelessness, collected by Continuums of Care (CoCs). The PIT counts people experiencing homelessness in sheltered and unsheltered locations, as well as the number of beds available to serve them, on a single night in January 2020. The 396 CoCs (local planning bodies responsible for coordinating homelessness services) contributing to this assessment effectively covered the entire United States. Critical findings from the report include:
- On a single night in January 2020, 580,466 people – about 18 of every 10,000 people in the United States – experienced homelessness across the United States. This represents a 2.2 percent increase from 2019.
- After consistent reductions from 2010 to 2016, homelessness has increased in each of the last four consecutive years.
- 2020 was the first year since 2010 that both veteran and veteran family homelessness did not decline.
- Approximately 30 percent of the homeless population in January 2020 were in families with children and 26 percent of the homeless population were youths under the age of 25.
- People of color are significantly over-represented among people experiencing homelessness. Despite composing 12 percent of the population, almost 40 percent of people experiencing homelessness in January 2020 were Black or African American. Though 16 percent of the population, nearly a quarter of all people experiencing homelessness were Hispanic or Latino. Together, American Indian, Alaska Native, Pacific Islander and Native Hawaiian populations account for 1 percent of the U.S. population, but 5 percent of the homeless population.
With the release of the report, HUD Secretary Marcia L. Fudge remarked, “The findings of the 2020 AHAR Part 1 Report are very troubling, even before you consider what COVID-19 has done to make the homelessness crisis worse. Thanks to President Biden’s leadership, we are once again putting Housing First to end this crisis and build strong, healthy communities, as reflected in the American Rescue Plan. I look forward to working with President Biden to implement this historic package to deliver robust, equitable relief to those experiencing homelessness. Housing should be a right, not a privilege, and ensuring that every American has a safe, stable home is a national imperative.”
The City of Tulsa, Housing Solutions, and the Landlord Tenant Resource Center will be presenting a free webinar on the Gold Star Landlord Program. As you have heard, the Gold Star Landlord Program is a free, voluntary program that rewards landlords and property managers who engage in the best rental practices. Attached is a flyer with more information on the Gold Star Landlord Program.
The webinar on the Gold Star Landlord Program will take place on Tuesday, April 13th at 10:00 am. The webinar will cover the free program requirements as well as the incentives and rewards that participating landlords receive. To participate, visit: https://fb.me/e/28zrFsaG1.
If you are interested in participating, you can apply online: http://www.cityoftulsa.org/erap. In the application, landlords and property managers will only need to provide their names, contact information, and addresses for their rental properties located in the City of Tulsa. If you have additional questions, please attend the webinar on Tuesday, April 13th.
COT-Gold Star Landlord Flyer.pdf
On March 16, the U.S. Treasury released revised guidance on its Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) program, which was created by the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021. The supplemental guidance clarifies several aspects of the ERA program, most notably that the program allows using security deposits, rental application fees and applicant screening charges for covering a portion of back rent. The revised guidance also clarifies that the program may cover the cost of hotel or motel rooms occupied by eligible households — those who have been temporarily or permanently displaced from their primary residences or do not have a permanent residence elsewhere — for up to 12 months. Additionally, the revised FAQ points out that rental payments for a manufactured home and/or the land on which the manufactured home is placed are eligible for financial assistance under the ERA program. Households who are renting their residence under a “rent-to-own” agreement, where the renter has the opportunity to purchase the unit at the end of the lease, are also eligible for assistance under the program.
Restore Hope is now administering the Emergency Rental Assistance Programs (ERAP) for the City of Tulsa, Tulsa County, and for the state of Oklahoma in surrounding counties. They are now serving households in: Adair, Cherokee, Craig, Creek, Delaware, Haskell, Mayes, McIntosh, Muskogee, Nowata, Okfuskee, Okmulgee, Osage, Ottawa, Pawnee, Rogers, Sequoyah, Tulsa, Wagoner, and Washington counties. Tenants in all those areas can apply at: http://erap.restorehope.org.
Restore Hope has received over 4,800 applications requesting over $11.6 million in emergency rental assistance! Initial payments have started to be made directly to landlords. You can check the status of the pending applications online at: https://erap.restorehope.org/ERAPStatus/Home/CheckStatus.
ERAP Flyer for Tenants.pdf
On March 29, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky signed an extension to the federal eviction moratorium, further preventing the eviction of tenants who are unable to make rental payments. In January, President Joe Biden directed the CDC to extend the moratorium — scheduled to expire January 31, 2021 — to at least March 31, 2021. Dr. Walensky’s signature extends the moratorium through June 30, 2021. By allowing people to remain in their homes and out of crowded or congregate settings like homeless shelters, preventing evictions can be a critical strategy to stop the spread of Covid-19 and avoid the multiple harms associated with the loss of housing.
The infrastructure component is expected to include $400 billion in spending to combat climate change, including $60 billion for infrastructure related to green transit and $46 billion for climate-related research and development. The plan also would aim to make electric-vehicle charging stations available across the country. The measure would also include $200 billion for housing infrastructure, including $100 billion to expand the supply of housing for low-income Americans.
In less than 10 minutes, you can shape how the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City helps communities respond to housing challenges.
And there are many challenges. From rising materials costs to low wages, from the racial wealth gap to lease provisions that hurt renters – and more – these challenges mean a safe and affordable place to live is increasingly out of reach.
Which challenges do you consider most important in your region? Which interesting solutions would you like to try?
I hope you will consider sharing your thoughts with the Kansas City Fed. They would like a mix of perspectives. They want to hear from affordable housing funders, builders and providers, groups that work with tenants and homeowners, elected officials, business and neighborhood leaders, and more.
The Kansas City Fed will release the survey results this summer. What they hear from us will guide them as they conduct research, help shape policy and engage stakeholders.
Please use https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/housing-kcfed to complete the survey by April 28, 2021. Please feel free to share with other individuals or groups involved in housing in your area.
If you have any questions about the survey, contact Jennifer Wilding, community development specialist, at Jennifer.wilding.
The Austin Transit Partnership Board of Directors unanimously approved a grant agreement to finance anti-displacement efforts using money from Project Connect’s tax revenue. The funds, totaling $300 million, will be dispersed over Project Connect’s 13-year timeline, according to ATP’s resolution.
The City of Austin has released the Economic Recovery and Resiliency Framework. The report features 45 opportunities to foster a more equitable, competitive, and resilient post-pandemic Austin economy. Topics include: financial support initiatives, health and mental wellness services, technical assistance for businesses, and workforce development programs for residents. Austinites are invited to review the framework and provide feedback on the opportunities through the SpeakUp Austin!