U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson Friday announced the allocation of the remaining $1.988 billion in CARES Act funding for the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program. The allocation focuses funds towards places with households facing higher risk of eviction. To date, HUD has provided nearly $5 billion in CDBG funding nationwide to help communities combat the coronavirus and alleviate economic hardship.
This is the third eviction-related message from HUD to be issued this week. Monday, Carson encouraged all grantees--states, cities, communities, and nonprofits--who received Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG) or Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) to provide rental assistance or other aid to individuals experiencing at risk of being evicted due to the pandemic. Two days ago he announced new CARES Act flexibilities and requirements.
Today Carson echoed sentiments from earlier this week:
“The Trump Administration has maintained that no one should risk losing their home due to the coronavirus,” said Secretary Ben Carson. “We’ve taken several actions since the beginning of this pandemic to keep Americans in their homes. Today, we announce additional aid to the communities that need it the most. These funds can help households struggling to meet their rental or mortgage obligations to stay afloat as our nation continues to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.”
These funds can be used to provide temporary financial assistance to meet rental obligations for up to 6 months, according to HUD's news release. The funds are focused toward places with households facing higher risk of eviction. Specifically:
- Communities with high rates of individuals in industries with high job loss in states with high unemployment;
- Communities with high rates of businesses in industries with high job loss in states with high unemployment; and
- Concentrations of those most at risk for transmission and risk of eviction, with higher amounts for states with high rates of coronavirus.
Today’s announcement is consistent with the President’s August 8, 2020 Executive Order “Fighting the Spread of COVID-19 by Providing Assistance to Renters and Homeowners,” which directs HUD to identify “any and all available Federal funds to provide temporary financial assistance to renters and homeowners who, as a result of the financial hardships caused by COVID-19, are struggling to meet their monthly rental or mortgage obligations.”
Some housing advocates at the time said they expect more from the administration.
National Association of Realtors (NAR), for example, stated “appreciation and support of administration efforts to ensure struggling Americans can remain in their homes,” however, NAR President Vince Malta went on to say, “this order as-written will bring chaos to our nation’s critical rental housing sector and put countless property owners out of business.”
“Any eviction moratorium must also come with rental assistance for property owners, the vast majority of which are mom-and-pop investors and are still required to meet their financial obligations even as they cease to receive income on their properties,” Malta said. “NAR strongly encourages Congress to pass immediate legislation that would instead provide emergency rental assistance programs directly to housing providers.”
For more information on HUD's response to the coronavirus pandemic and the actions the department has taken, visit HUD.gov/coronavirus.