The prioritization assistance to households with incomes less than 50% of area median income and to households with one or more members who have been unemployed for at least 90 days was established in the PPM and automated in the online application system, OSCARSS. The system assigns a priority level to each applicant based on the information submitted in the application. Documentation is required to show the percentage of AMI, unemployment length, or proof of housing instability. Applications with a higher priority are reviewed first, on a daily basis. The timely processing of priority status applications is monitored on an ongoing basis. Reviewers are able to see the prioritized applications in their queues to process. Reports are run frequently, providing program managers a tool to ensure the applications with the highest priority are being processed first.
For inquiries, please reach out to Today in Housing Managing Editor Ahmad Abu-Khalaf, senior research analyst at Enterprise.
JUNE 24, 2021
Today, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky extended the agency’s temporary eviction moratorium for qualifying renters, which was set to expire on June 30, 2021, through July 31, 2021. A press release from the CDC notes that this extension is intended to be the final extension of the eviction moratorium. Additionally, the White House announced a set of actions aimed at helping state and local governments prevent evictions and accelerating the disbursement of the Treasury’s Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) funds to renters and landlords in need of aid. The Treasury released updated FAQs and a new fact sheet, directing state and local ERA administrators to provide a streamlined payment option for utility providers and large landlords to make accessing ERA funds on behalf of multiple tenants easier and more attractive, and clarifying that funds from the State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds can be used to support eviction diversion programs. The guidance also creates a commitment letter process to help families who are experiencing homelessness and do not have a current rental obligation gain access to ERA relief, among other clarifications. Furthermore, Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta sent a letter to state courts, encouraging them to adopt eviction diversion practices that would help landlords and tenants reach agreement, access ERA relief and avoid the costs of legal actions.
President Biden and Vice President Harris announced earlier today their support for the nearly $1 trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework. The bipartisan proposal would invest two-thirds of the resources that the President proposed in his American Jobs Plan to make investments in a number of areas, including transportation infrastructure, universal broadband infrastructure and resilience to climate change. Specifically, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework includes $550 billion in new federal spending on infrastructure, which would invest $312 billion in transportation infrastructure, $65 billion in broadband infrastructure, $47 billion in increasing the nation’s infrastructure resilience against climate change threats, and $21 billion in environmental remediation, among other investments. In a meeting with the White House, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA-12) discussed passing the White House infrastructure priorities through a two-track approach; a bipartisan infrastructure package, and a second package that includes provisions from the President’s $1.7 trillion American Jobs Plan and $1.8 trillion American Families Plan that were not included in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework. Enterprise urges the Administration and Congress to include housing infrastructure investments in any infrastructure package.
Yesterday, the Biden-Harris Administration appointed Sandra Thompson to serve as the acting director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA). This appointment followed a Supreme Court ruling that found the FHFA’s structure unconstitutional and gave President Biden and future presidents the authority to remove the head of the FHFA at-will, a decision that is in line with a similar Supreme Court decision concerning the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s structure. Thompson previously served as the FHFA’s Deputy Director of the Division of Housing Mission and Goals, overseeing the agency’s housing and regulatory policy, capital policy, financial analysis, fair lending and all mission activities for Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Home Loan Banks. In a statement, Thompson emphasized her commitment to “making sure our nation’s housing finance systems and our regulated entities operate in a safe and sound manner,” and noted that the agency’s duty is to “ensure that all Americans have equal access to safe, decent and affordable housing.”
HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge sent a letter to public housing authorities (PHAs), Continuums of Care (CoC) partners, multifamily owners and HUD grantees, clarifying that returning citizens—formerly incarcerated individuals returning to their communities—who are at-risk of homelessness are among the eligible populations for the recently awarded 70,000 emergency housing vouchers funded by the American Rescue Plan. HUD recently released Notice PIH 2021-15, clarifying that individuals exiting prisons and jails who are at-risk of homelessness due to their low incomes and lack of sufficient resources or social supports are eligible for these vouchers, while strongly encouraging PHAs to work with their CoC partners to ensure that individuals who are at-risk of homelessness after leaving prisons or jails are considered for these vouchers. Additionally, HUD is taking additional steps to meet the housing needs of returning citizens, including reviewing existing HUD policies and regulations that limit access to housing and HUD assistance among formerly incarcerated people.
By Wendy Rhodes | Palm Beach Post | June 12, 2021
For nearly two decades, local government leaders, developers and advocates have brainstormed and promulgated different measures to address a chronic sore spot: Ever-increasing housing costs have made the American Dream of homeownership unattainable for broad swaths of people.
“The dirty little secret is that the issue never got better, especially for people at the lower end of the income scale,” said Suzanne P. Cabrera, president and CEO of the Housing Leadership Council of Palm Beach County. “Even if we took everybody’s wages and doubled them today, Palm Beach County is still unaffordable.”
The hurdle has only gotten higher in the past few years, courtesy of a pandemic, frigid winter weather across the northern United States and a new federal tax lawthat have driven more people here, adding to the competition among buyers for homes in a relentless seller’s market.
So,the word is clearly out again:Palm Beach County is a great place to live and work. Just ask the thousands of folks from out of state who are flocking here to retire, raise their families, open businesses or buy second homes to soak up some of Florida’s fabulous winter sunshine.
That popularity has only worsened the already difficult panorama for prospective low- and middle-income homebuyers. As high earners from other states relocate to Palm Beach County, increased housing demand, coupled with limited inventory, are driving up costs. Locals are further being priced out of the housing market, forcing them to commute from other counties, double up with roommates or even move away.
Disturbing home affordability trend
Cabrera’s organization, the Housing Leadership Council, was founded in 2006 to ensure the area has enough affordable housing for the service and mid-level workers who make up the bulk of the county’s residents.
The group works in conjunction with local academics, nonprofits and government agencies to identify the extent of the need for affordable and workforce housing, as well as strategies to tackle that demand. Finding solutions, however, is easier said than done, she points out.
The council right now is tackling an ominous trend for housing. Namely, the county is losing significantly more affordable housing units each year than it is building, and adequate funding to back rent vouchers to meet immediate housing needs is simply non-existent.
To change that direction, the Housing Leadership Council is working on a proposal to present to county commissioners in March about how to address these growing problems….
By Caroline Glenn | May 13, 2021 | A Three-Part Orlando Sentinel Special Report
How COVID exposed Florida’s eviction crisis
Jocelyn Bennett paints her daughters’ toenails, not bothered by the strong scent of nail polish filling the room at the HomeTown Studios in Orlando. The girls show off their pink toes, toddling around the small pay-by-the-week hotel room, one of many the Bennetts have called home since the pandemic began and they got evicted.
It’s just one room with a bathroom with not enough space to even open the front door all the way. But it’s got a stove and a fridge, and it’s better than living in their car or outside. There are two beds, one for mom and dad, and the other is shared by their five kids who are all under 6 years old.
These days, a bottle of Dollar Tree nail polish is one of the only luxuries Jocelyn Bennett can give them.
“That’s the worst feeling to have is I can’t provide for my kids. That’s probably the worst feeling you can have as a parent, not knowing what to do and calling 2-1-1 and them not knowing what to do,” Jocelyn, 26, said, referring to United Way’s emergency hotline.
In March 2020, Jocelyn lost her nursing assistant job at a senior living facility. Dexter, her husband, had been between jobs, finding work through a temp agency. They were already on food stamps. In April, they couldn’t cover the rent. Their landlord told them they needed to be out in 30 days. And the family became homeless in a matter of weeks.
“It was a downward spiral after that,” Dexter, 36, said. “Since COVID started, we’ve been living in hotels.”
For renters in Florida, this is what eviction can look like. It doesn’t always play out in a courtroom because many renters can’t get a court hearing, which results in their landlord automatically winning the case. Some people, like the Bennetts, leave without responding to an eviction notice because they don’t think they can fight it.
Housing experts argue Florida has some of the harshest eviction laws in the country, written so landlords can evict people as quickly as possible and without going to court. During the COVID-19 outbreak, those landlord-friendly laws, coupled with the state’s severe shortage of affordable homes, rising rents and years of stagnant wages, left thousands of suddenly jobless renters exposed. And even after the government ordered a halt to eviction proceedings and federal dollars were made available to help people pay rent, many tenants were not spared.
Black Floridians, who were already more likely to lose their job to the pandemic and die from COVID-19, were even more likely to be locked out of their homes. In a mostly Black part of downtown Orlando, for example, renters were about six times as likely to face eviction than in another mostly white part of downtown, according to new data compiled for the Orlando Sentinel by the Shimberg Center for Housing Studies at the University of Florida.
Shimberg estimates more than 57,000 evictions were filed in Florida just from March 2020 to mid-December, pushing families like the Bennetts into homelessness at a time the government was ordering people to quarantine.
Central Florida renters, many of them the same low-wage workers who power the region’s tourism economy, were particularly vulnerable. Even before the pandemic and mass layoffs upended their lives, they lived paycheck to paycheck in a town where rent keeps climbing and wages don’t budge.
So when the bottom fell out of the tourism and service industries, there was no safety net for them, and Florida’s Republican-controlled Legislature did nothing to help.
“They are the ones who face wrongful eviction, they are the ones who can’t get living wages, they are the ones who are struggling to find reliable public transportation. It’s all on them,” said state Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, a Democrat from Orlando. “And when we ignore these crises with affordable housing, eviction, wages, public transit — we’re doing it on the backs of working people.
“They are the ones who pay.”
Renters struggled before COVID
Florida ranks among the states with the worst affordable rental housing shortages in the nation, data from the National Low Income Housing Coalition show. New housing has been added to try to keep up with the state’s population growth, but developers have largely ignored building places to live for low-income residents.
Over the past 20 years in Florida, nearly 200,000 rental units priced under $1,000 per month disappeared as landlords increased rents. At the same time, about 1 million units priced above $1,000 were added, the Shimberg Center found…
Rental and Utility Assistance
Rental and Utility Assistance Information
The online application portal is now open.
This Temporary Rental and Utility program funded by the Community Development Block (CDBG) and CDBG’s Cares Act provides assistance to low and moderate-income Village of Wellington residents. The program’s purpose is to assist residents with a one-time rental and utility assistance who have experienced the loss of income, reduction in hours, or unemployment as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic on a “first-eligible, first-served” basis.
The Village extends its gratitude to the Wellington Community Foundation for funding the Utility (water and sewer)-portion of this assistance program.
The program will provide up to a maximum amount of $5,000 per household for rental assistance and/or $500 on Utility Assistance. The residents could receive a maximum of $5,500 for rental and utility assistance. Rental assistance equates to a partial payment of rent. For months 1 and 2 of the owed rent amount, the rental assistance program will pay and the landlord must agree to 75% of the amount due. For months 3, 4 and 5 of rent assistance, the program will pay, and the landlord must agree to 60% of the amount due. Late fees are not applicable if any, and will not be covered by the program. The Landlord will agree to waive late fees and accept the reduced payment as the full months paid for the months covered by this program.
This assistance is limited to submission per household.