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In cities, towns, and counties across the U.S., the COVID-19 pandemic and accompanying economic downturn are precipitating a housing crisis of historic proportions. To assist localities in responding to this challenge, Local Housing Solutions team has put together a running list of resources to help local leaders address some of the most common and pressing problems surrounding their pandemic-related housing policy responses.

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New and noteworthy

COVID-19 response plans

These materials are intended to help local leaders take a strategic approach to addressing their short-, medium- and long-term housing challenges, providing content that addresses some of the most common questions surrounding response plans to the pandemic. Access the resources now.

Furman, UPenn, and NLIHC briefs

  • Prioritization in Emergency Rental Assistance Programs: A framework of strategies, policies, and procedures to better serve priority populations (April 2021) This research brief introduces a framework for how emergency rental assistance programs can incorporate strategies, policies, and procedures that embed equity and give priority at every step of the program process to renters most impacted by COVID-19 and at greatest risk of housing instability, particularly Black and Latino/a/a renters. The report outlines key decision points and actionable strategies for prioritizing populations following the graphic below: (1) determining the priority population(s); (2) program budgeting & setting benchmarks; (3) conducting robust tenant & landlord outreach; (4) providing ample intake support for tenants & landlords; (5) selecting applicants and providing services; and (6) monitoring and evaluation. In order to maximize how many people in the priority population(s) receive support, program administrators must center the priority population(s) at each step of program planning and evaluation.
  • Learning from Emergency Rental Assistance Programs: Lessons from Fifteen Case Studies (March 2021) The report follows our recent report on findings from a survey of 220 emergency rental assistance program administrators throughout the country. Today’s report more deeply examines 15 emergency rental assistance programs and how they evolved to better serve renters, especially the lowest-income and most marginalized renters. The report focuses on the key challenges programs administrators faced, the innovative strategies they used to address these challenges, and the lessons current and future program administrators can take away.
  • Advancing Racial Equity in Emergency Rental Assistance Programs (January 2021) The NYU Furman Center, together with the Housing Initiative at Penn and the National Low Income Housing Coalition, recently co-authored a report describing these “first-generation” COVID rental assistance programs, based on a survey of 220 programs across the country. This brief draws upon the analysis from that survey, along with additional document review and interviews with selected program administrators. Based on these sources, the brief highlights several lessons about strategies states and localities can use to design and implement more equitable emergency rental assistance programs.
  • Best Practices for State and Local Emergency Rental Assistance Programs (January 2021) outlines key considerations for implementing an emergency rental assistance (ERA) program using the $25 billion for ERA in the recent COVID-19 relief package. The report highlights best practices and examples from state and local programs around the country.
  • COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance: Analysis of a National Survey of Programs (January 2021), developed in partnership with the Housing Initiative at Penn and NYU Furman Center, provides an analysis of key emergency rental assistance program design and implementation decisions from a national survey of over 200 program administrators. The report examines program decisions against program challenges and outcome metrics.
  • Emergency Rental Assistance Programs in Response to COVID-19 (October 2020) provides a descriptive analysis of over 440 rental assistance programs created or expanded in response to COVID-19 as of October 2020. The analysis provides insight into how programs are funded, designed, and implemented.
  • Cost of COVID-19 Evictions (November 2020) , developed in partnership with the Innovation for Justice (i4J) Program, highlights some of the public costs of eviction-related homelessness that the United States will incur if we do not provide adequate rental assistance and eviction protection.

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