Philanthropy's Response to the National Evictions Crisis

Monday, June 28, 2021

Community foundations and place-based funders should be aware of the impending rental evictions crisis on the horizon. Money is available in every state to help renters who are behind on rent due to the pandemic’s impacts and are at risk of eviction when the federal pandemic eviction moratorium ends on July 31. Challenges lie in the inadequacies of local government systems to execute a fast distribution of these relief funds.

Background

 On June 24, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) announced an extension of the rental eviction moratorium through July 31. The American Rescue Plan allocated an additional $21.5 billion to $25 billion already allocated in the previous COVID relief bill for Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA). These are funds that can be used by renters to cover arrears and make landlords whole. The $46 billion is available through state and local governments, but there are challenges in getting the money to those at risk of losing their housing. Many state and local governments find a lack of capacity in their systems to quickly get this emergency rental assistance to vulnerable renters and landlords. The Biden-Harris Administration’s’earlier guidance on May 7 helped state and local governments move more funds to more renters in need, but the process must be speeded up to avoid the potential of 11 million evictions (Source: Equal Justice Works).

What can Place-based Funders Do?

  • Become familiar with the situation and support your grantees who are on the front lines of this crisis. Consult the White House factsheet for details about the situation. The factsheet includes specific actions for the philanthropic sector.
  • Join the JUNE 30 White House virtual convening from 1:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m. EDT on effective eviction diversion programs and learn how to support local government strategies to help both landlords and tenants recover from this pandemic-related hardship. The summit will provide a public panel and private breakout sessions among stakeholders in various cities (like mayors, local municipal courts, legal service providers, CBOs, and local community foundations). Funders wishing to participate should email Mia Bailey at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
  • Support Local Eviction Diversion Programs. Numerous cities have developed successful eviction diversion programs. These programs are unique to the community and are often community- or court-based. They combine several interventions, including legal counsel, mediation, rental assistance, and supportive services, among others. These programs need quick funding to ramp up staff capacity to provide services. Contact your mayor’s office to find out how to connect with these programs.

For more information, contact Stephanie Powers, Senior Advisor for Public Policy and Partnerships, at stephanie.powers@cof.org.