The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) on Monday announced $20 million in new grants for its Eviction Protection Grant Program, doubling the amount originally allocated for the launch of the program in November 2021.
Acadiana Legal Service Corporation in Lafayette will receive $1,000,000.
HUD has offered grants to 11 organizations, in addition to the 10 organizations selected in November, to help non-profits and governmental entities provide legal assistance to low-income tenants at risk of or subject to eviction.
Here's a release from HUD about the award:
“Legal services are integral in helping individuals and families,” said HUD Regional Administrator Candace Valenzuela. “Especially people of color who are disproportionately represented among those evicted, people with limited English proficiency and people with disabilities, avoid eviction or minimize the disruption and damage caused by the eviction process.”
“The American people have been resilient in the face of historic challenges as we continue to confront the impacts of COVID-19,” said Secretary Marcia L. Fudge. “We need to keep doing all that we can to help people maintain quality housing. We know that access to legal services and eviction diversion programs works. It helps people avoid evictions and protects tenants’ rights. Legal services also help landlords access available resources to address rent arrears. We are proud to expand the Eviction Protection Grant Program so that more families have access to eviction protection services.”
Through HUD’s Office of Policy Development and Research, these competitive grants were made available to legal service providers serving or expanding services in areas with high rates of eviction or prospective evictions, including rural areas. The first cohort of grantees funded by the program are implementing a total of seven statewide programs (Connecticut, Florida, Idaho, Massachusetts, Missouri, Montana, and Utah) as well as two regional (Northwestern Ohio and Western New York) and three local (Albany, Atlanta, and Las Vegas) programs. This expansion will support additional statewide, regional, and local programs across the Northeast, Southern, and Western United States.
The Eviction Protection Grant Program is part of HUD’s continued work, as part of a whole of government approach, to support families recovering from the public health and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. State and local Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) grantees have made over 5.2 million payments to households and spent or committed well over $30 billion in rental and utility assistance, along with other support through the program. Additionally, state and local governments have already used Fiscal Recovery Funds provided by the American Rescue Plan to provide additional rent, mortgage, or utility assistance to over 700,000 households and have provided eviction prevention services to more than 100,000 households in 2021. And due to the Administration’s continual promotion of eviction diversion programs, including through multiple eviction prevention summits in 2021, there are now approximately 100 eviction diversion programs in existence nationwide. As a result of these efforts, the Eviction Lab estimated[hudgov-my.sharepoint.com] that millions of renters avoided the threat of eviction in 2021.
One of the leading interventions to prevent evictions is providing legal assistance to at-risk tenants. Research shows that legal representation helps tenants remain housed while also delivering financial savings to the jurisdictions. For example, a study [bmorerentersunited.org] in Baltimore found that an annual investment of $5.7 million in a right to counsel program would yield $35.6 million in benefits or costs avoided to the city and state. (Stout Risius Ross, LLC. May 8, 2020. The Economic Impact of an Eviction Right to Counsel in Baltimore City[bmorerentersunited.org]).
A right to counsel in eviction proceedings has consistently been found to significantly reduce evictions (Eviction Right to Counsel Resource Center [stout.com]). A study in Minnesota found fully represented tenants win or settle their cases 96 percent of the time and clients receiving limited representation win or settle their cases 83 percent of the time. These figures compare with just 62 percent of tenants without any representation. Tenants with full representation were twice as likely to stay in their homes or got twice as much time to move, left court without an eviction record, and were four times less likely to use homeless shelters (Grundman & Kruger, 2018, Legal Representation in Evictions - Comparative Study[minnpost.com]). An analysis of California’s Shriver Housing Pilot Projects found clients with full representation were significantly less likely to end their cases by default (8 percent) than were self-represented defendants (26 percent) and on average had more days to move, were ordered less often to pay holdover damages, landlord attorney fees, and other costs (NPC Research, 2017).
Learn more about the extent and impacts of evictions and best practices for addressing them through:
- HUD’s eviction edition of Evidence Matters here [huduser.gov].
- Benefits of eviction diversion programs here [huduser.gov].
- PD&R’s Quarterly Update on the Government’s Response to the Eviction Crisis here [huduser.gov].