A damning investigation reveals the immense financial resources that states could have spent on rent relief but failed to do so, whether willfully or not.
Millions of renters have spent the pandemic "facing possible eviction despite bold promises by governors to help renters after Congress passed the sweeping CARES Act in March 2020," according to an investigative report by Sarah Kleiner, Taylor Johnston, and Michael Casey for the Center for Public Integrity.
The headlining figure of the story: $425 million in promised rental assistance failed to reach the hands of tenants and landlords. "Nationwide, state leaders set aside at least $2.6 billion from the CARES Act’s Coronavirus Relief Fund to prop up struggling renters, but a year later, more than $425 million of that — or 16% — hadn’t made it into the pockets of tenants or their landlords," according to the investigation.
The tale of bungled and inadequate protections for renters during the pandemic continues: "The federal government had an eviction moratorium in place for the majority of 2020 and the first half of 2021, but landlords across the country have found creative ways around it. People in communities of color have been far more likely to receive eviction notices during the pandemic than people in white neighborhoods…"
The story begins by focusing on the example of North Carolina, where programs and funding were slow, obstructed, or deliberately sabotaged. But other states are included in this analysis too—like Georgia, West Virginia, Tennessee, and Alabama, which all decided not to set up statewide rent relief programs in 2020. The report also finds evidence of some states spending rent relief funds for other Covid-related purposes.
The damage to all of this neglect can be measured in lives. Diane Yentel, executive director of the National Low Income Housing Coalition, is quoted in the article describing research showing that "where eviction moratoriums were allowed to expire and tenants were evicted for nonpayment of rent, it led to increases in deaths from COVID-19."
The article also credits a dozen states for allocating all of the rental assistance from the Coronavirus Relief Fund by March 31.
Keanu Reeves Set to Play Daniel Burnham in ‘The Devil in the White City’
Planning is going to get a new level of star power as a limited series adaptation of The Devil in the White City gets ready for television screens in 2024.
Opinion: Aging Population, Declining Fertility Requires Long-Term Investments
Faced with the dire consequences of a one-two punch of aging populations and declining birthrates, one writer has suggestions for how policy can help ensure a better future.
The Tide Has Turned Against Open Streets
Once a promising development for advocates pushing for a less car-centric future in cities, the open streets movement has ceded significant ground to cars since the height of the pandemic.
Key Warehouse Centers Challenge Distribution Center Expansion
Communities near major e-commerce distribution centers are increasingly resisting new construction, citing air pollution and other public health impacts.
Another Silicon Valley Enclave Resists Multifamily Housing
Ultrawealthy residents have blocked a proposal to build townhouse developments in one of California’s most affluent communities.
Flooding 210 Days a Year—No Storms Necessary
It no longer takes a storm to cause flooding in many coastal areas of the United States. Galveston, Texas could eventually face floods more than half the days of the year.
Sun City Center Community Association, Inc
City of Mesa
Town of Gilbert, Arizona
This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.