Around the State
Governor Cooper Issues EO #206 Extending Statewide Eviction Protection
Last week Governor Roy Cooper issued Executive Order #206, extending the state’s protections against eviction until June 30th, in line with the CDC’s recent extension of the national eviction moratorium. EO #206 is the follow-up to EO #171 which had previously extended eviction protections in North Carolina until March 31st. Governor Cooper made no other changes regarding evictions.
The state’s eviction protection essentially affirms that the national CDC moratorium should apply across the state and be adhered to with regard to evictions for non-payment. The EO does require landlords to inform tenants about the CDC moratorium, however, it still requires a tenant to take the active step of completing a declaration form to invoke protection. Due to a lack of enforcement and cohesive implementation across courthouses, the eviction moratorium has had mixed results in North Carolina, protecting some from eviction while being ineffective in preventing housing loss for others.
The additional time provided under EO #206 will help give state and local governments the time needed to deploy existing and new rental assistance funds. The HOPE Program remains closed to new applicants as administrators complete payments of already approved assistance funded by the CARES Act. HOPE Program officials also continue to prepare for the next iteration of rental assistance funded by the December 2020 relief package.
General Assembly Update
The General Assembly is on a short break this week for the Easter holiday. Work does continue on appropriations and what legislators will propose for the FY 2021-2023 budget. The House & Senate take turns on which chamber starts the budget process officially. This year the budget will start in the Senate. A proposed budget is expected in the next week or so.
The Governor released his budget recommendations a couple weeks ago. While Governor Cooper proposes an increase to $15 for the Housing Trust Fund, his recommendations are disappointing for housing. Cooper does not propose any funding for the Workforce Housing Loan Program and has dropped affordable housing from the slate of proposed general obligation bonds. In recent years housing and the WHLP program have fared more favorably with the General Assembly.
Aside from appropriations, the other major issue for the General Assembly is continued work related to COVID-19 response and allocating the resources from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) which passed in mid-March. For housing needs, ARPA includes funds for additional emergency rental and utility assistance, homeowner assistance, and housing counseling. It will be several weeks before these resources hit the ground. State officials are waiting on additional guidance from federal agencies regarding the specific administration of those funds.
This week some interesting bills were filed by Senate Democrats that could have big impacts on affordable housing production and housing programs broadly. Senate Bill 880 would bring back the state’s low-income housing tax credit program, which until 2014 ran alongside the federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program. This bill while a welcome addition for housing production could have adverse impacts on the Workforce Housing Loan Program. Senate Bill 705 calls for the creation of a statewide “Housing & Community Development” department to oversee the state’s housing programs and response to housing needs. Many states such as Florida, Georgia, and Minnesota have statewide housing departments. While the realistic chances of either of these bills is low, the Coalition welcomes the discussion on these could bring about deeper change in the state of housing in NC.
Also in the General Assembly, there are a handful of bills pertaining to land use and studying affordable housing needs in the state. The Coalition is taking a closer look at all these bills and how they may impact affordable housing, and will track them and alert our networks of any movement.
CFPB & FTC Teaming Up on Enforcement of CDC Eviction Moratorium
As many are aware, on March 29th the CDC extended the national moratorium on evictions to June 30th. When making that announcement, the CDC also announced that the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB) would be “more active” in the enforcement of the moratorium. Last week information on what that means exactly was announced. The acting directors of the CFPB & the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released a joint statement announcing that their agencies would be taking more active roles in enforcement against unlawful evictions for nonpayment of rent.
What does this mean? For the time being, this means both agencies are “assessing their authority” under their respective agencies. Staff will be conducting outreach to learn more about the issues, monitoring the marketplace, and determining what course of action may be taken under the purview of the CFPB & FTC. With the FTC’s involvement, the eviction activities of multi-state landlords will be an area focus. Information will be added to the FTC’s complaint database. Any tips or leads will be passed on to relevant state or local law enforcement.
For housing advocates across the country, this is a welcome step towards real enforcement. Since the moratorium’s start in September 2020, there have been almost no resources devoted to enforcement at a national level.
To file complaints or share information about what your organizations are seeing, see the following contact information:
CFPB Enforcement Office:
Gabe O’Malley, Deputy Enforcement Director: gabriel.o’firstname.lastname@example.org
CFPB website: Take action to avoid eviction using the CDC order
$213 Billion for Housing Included in Proposed $2 Trillion Infrastructure Plan
Last week, the White House announced a plan to invest approximately $2 trillion in the nation’s infrastructure, including housing. The “American Jobs Plan” includes $213 billion “to produce, preserve, and retrofit more than two million affordable and sustainable places to live…through grants, formula funding, targeted tax credits and project-based rental assistance.” The proposal includes $40 billion to make much needed repairs to public housing, resources to support homeownership and weatherize homes, and new incentives to encourage communities to eliminate exclusionary zoning and harmful land-use restrictions.
The details of this proposal are being worked out and more should be known in the coming months with movement in Congress beginning in the summer with a final package passed potentially in the fall.
Urban Institute – Housing Vouchers Have Helped Tenants and Landlords Weather the Pandemic
International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction – Housing Type Matters for Pace of Recovery: Evidence from Hurricane Ike
Urban Institute & Enterprise Community Partners – A Federal Policy and Climate Migration Briefing for Federal Executive and Legislative Officials
Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, UCLA Anderson School of Management & Northwestern Kellogg School of Management – COVID-19 Rental Eviction Moratoria and Household Well-Being by Xudong An, Stuart A. Gabriel, Nitzan Tzur-Ilan :: SSRN
NC Womens Affordable Housing Network (NCWAHN)
Lunch ‘n’ Learn: Women in Construction
4/22 12 to 1pm
Link to register: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/ncwahn-women-in-construction-panel-tickets-148834545131