Looking for rental assistance?

Renters and landlords can find out what emergency rental assistance covers, how it works, and who’s eligible on the interagency housing portal hosted by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

Eviction Diversion

Partnerships with Broader Eviction Diversion Programs

Many grantees have found that partnerships with their local court systems and legal services organizations are critical tools for preventing housing insecurity and helping landlords recover from rental arrearages. While court systems and eviction procedures vary across states and localities, these grantees have engaged with local courts, legal aid organizations, and other stakeholders to reach households with the greatest need for assistance—those facing imminent eviction. These partnerships have often included streamlined procedures that reduce the eligibility documentation required from households in these situations. 

Efforts by ERA grantees are sometimes complementary to broader eviction diversion programs.  These efforts play an important function in cases where the landlord had already started eviction proceedings.  In addition to expediting ERA applications, they often prevent evictions by utilizing the support of legal service professionals and mediators in interventions at the early stages of the court process.  ERA grantees have also found court data helpful for informing targeted outreach efforts to landlords and/or high-need geographic areas.

Focus on mediation

The State of Massachusetts

The State of Massachusetts has developed a two-tiered eviction process that has integrated the ERA program into eviction proceedings. In the first tier, landlords and tenants work with a mediator who can direct them to ERA resources to cover qualified rental arrears. This state-funded program also engages legal aid services, as well as housing reinstatement services, for those cases where tenants ultimately experience eviction.

Focus on data sharing with local courts

The city of Memphis and Shelby County, TN

The city of Memphis and Shelby County’s joint program includes a data sharing relationship with the local court system. This partnership affords ERA program administrators real-time information about neighborhoods with increased eviction activity, allowing more targeted outreach towards tenants and landlords.  Using this data, the ERA program administrators have been able to foster effective relationships with larger apartment complexes and engage directly with tenants on the premises. Memphis and Shelby County have also contracted with a local nonprofit organization with experience providing legal services to tenants facing evictions, helping them to reach settlement and avoid evictions. Further efforts to expand tenants’ access to legal services have included enlisting faculty and student volunteers from the local law school.  The Memphis and Shelby County ERA program expedites ERA applications that come through these channels, allowing many households to use ERA funds to remain stably housed rather than enduring the hardship of a court-approved eviction.

The city of Philadelphia, PA

The city of Philadelphia’s ERA program is also integrated directly into the city’s eviction court system. The court requires defendants to apply for the city’s ERA program before allowing the eviction to proceed. Further, all landlords who enroll in the city’s ERA program are automatically enrolled in the eviction diversion system, alerting them to the resources offered by the city to help avoid tenant evictions, such as nonprofit mediation services.

Focus on a multi-faceted approach

The city of Louisville, KY

Louisville, KY is utilizing a multi-pronged approach to eviction diversion that includes legal representation for tenants, community based outreach, and collaboration with local courts. The city has allocated $400,000 of their ERA funding to enact a right to counsel program for tenants with children who are facing eviction. Their Office of Resilience and Community Services has partnered with the Office of Women, Office of Housing, Neighborhood Place, and the Coalition for the Homeless to target and reach out to Louisville residents at risk of eviction. The collaboration with the Office of Women was born out of the recognition that female led households, especially those headed by African-Americans, are disproportionately targeted for eviction. Outreach includes knocking on doors, sending texts, and making phone calls to encourage these tenants not to miss their court dates. Staff also attend eviction court on a daily basis and can coordinate with the judges to stay eviction for tenants who could benefit from emergency rental assistance. To aid tenants who “self-evict”, by moving when they receive an eviction notice, the city has put in place a rapid-rehousing program that provides a rental deposit and the first month’s rent to help people relocate.

Eviction diversion maturity levels

The following maturity model can help grantees shape a strategy and have actionable steps to address eviction diversion. A maturity model is a tool that helps organize strategy, practices, and process into a framework that can act as a blueprint for building up stronger capabilities. This model is intended to aid ERA grantees and stakeholders in determining their program’s current development stage and identify improvements that will facilitate increasingly robust, comprehensive, and effective approaches to ensuring housing stability within their jurisdictions.

Disclaimer: The practices referenced in this model may contemplate the leveraging of ERA funding with other federal, state, and local resources. The model’s reference to an example practice should not be construed as confirming such practice’s eligibility for any particular type or category of federal funding. Grantees should consult the governing federal program authorities for additional guidance before expending funds for such purposes to confirm eligibility.

Resourcing & shaping programs

Starting

Leverage existing system assets

Practices might include:

  • Listen to community organizations and advocates and host conversations
  • Utilize existing system resources, programs, staff, and contract vehicles to help manage the program
  • Use fact-specific proxy and categorical eligibility to expedite processing assistance
  • Apply for HUD grants to support legal aid for tenants at risk of eviction
Emerging

Build with the community

Practices might include:

  • Listen to local residents to understand needs
  • Leverage partners outside the traditional housing system to help deliver services and outreach, e.g. Libraries and faith-based organizations
  • Determine how to best use funding sources
  • Establish living experience groups for continuous feedback
Adapting

Prepare for volume of evictions

Practices might include:

Maturing

Sustain for the future

Practices might include:

  • Create a sustainability plan for longevity of the eviction diversion program beyond ERA
  • Set up displacement resources and funds for households that have been evicted
  • Pool funding from justice, health, and housing services to create a holistic approach to housing stability
  • Create a review process where households can have evictions removed from their records

Tenant interventions

Starting

Do community-based outreach

Practices might include:

  • Reach out to populations at high risk of eviction
  • Work closely with local housing advocates and organizations
  • Inform tenants about any eviction moratoriums in place within the local area and alert them that they may need to give a form to their landlord
  • Debunk common myths on ERA
  • Follow up directly with tenants who are missing documentation but have started applications
Emerging

Use targeted outreach

Practices might include:

  • Use data-informed/ targeted outreach to high risk households and households being evicted
  • Share information through a diverse portfolio of channels (digital, media, door to door, peer to peer; clinics, Facebook live, etc.)
  • Partner with grassroots organizations to deliver services related to housing stability
  • Provide in-person assistance for people who are not able to navigate the site on their own (office or their homes)
  • Use place-based outreach (i.e., grocery stores, clinics, etc.)
Adapting

Connect to options

Practices might include:

  • Court-based interventions/connections to services and education
  • Connect tenants to a housing counselor
  • Deliver wrap-around services supporting the social determinants of health
  • Offer a hotline for legal aid across agencies and include phone number on eviction notices
  • Provide information about legal aid and resources online
Maturing

Advocate for and empower

Practices might include:

  • Provide legal representation in court and consistent advocacy throughout the process
  • Establish educational centers/courses that are accessible and promoted even before eviction begins
  • Provide a universal and codified right to counsel for tenants

Landlord & property manager interventions

Starting

Accept ERA applications from landlords

Practices might include:

  • Encourage applications from landlords even if tenants have not applied
  • Accept documentation provided by landlords on a tenant's behalf
  • Require a landlord's agreement not to evict assisted tenants for nonpayment of rent for at least 30-90 days as a condition to receiving ERA assistance
  • Make bulk ERA payments to landlords to expedite payment processing
Emerging

Use targeted outreach

Practices might include:

  • Leverage local community organizations to publicize ERA (i.e., real estate groups and property management resource centers)
  • Message the community benefits of keeping people in their homes and the important role that housing providers play
  • Outreach and messaging so landlords know they are included in "rental assistance"
Adapting

Engage and educate

Practices might include:

  • Establish strong local eviction moratoriums
  • Establish court-based educational opportunities and courses
  • Target housing providers of large buildings in low-income areas and encourage them to apply for emergency rental assistance
Maturing

Incentivize and support

Practices might include:

Relationship-based interventions

Starting

Advocate for early communication

Practices might include:

  • Require landlords to provide tenants sufficient notice of eviction, dollar amount owed, and information on where to find rental assistance
  • Encourage landlords to inform their tenants about emergency rental assistance
  • Remind landlords that evicting tenants prevents them from collecting rental arrears via ERA programs
Emerging

Create connected applications

Practices might include:

  • Create connectivity on the backend to connect landlord and tenant applications by street address for system integrity and expedited processing
  • Create incentives for landlord/tenant cooperation in application (i.e., communicate expedited processing time)
Adapting

Build bridges between parties

Practices might include:

Maturing

Incentivize resolutions

Practices might include:

  • "Loan programs" where tenant pays back local government what they owe landlord; government pays landlord to reduce burden/delay with payment plan
  • Change success metric and incentives for courts, properties and lawyers so that they are rewarded for dismissal of evictions
  • Offer landlord/tenant mediation before eviction process (as a preventative measure) and during eviction process

Prioritize eviction cases for ERA

Starting

Flag tenants in imminent danger of eviction

Practices might include:

  • Ask tenants to attach an eviction notice, if they have one, to their application
  • Prioritize processing applicants who receive an eviction or utility shut off notice while waiting for a decision on their application
Emerging

Involve courts to address eviction crisis

Practices might include:

  • Establish MOU between courts and ERA grantee
  • Check to see if people at eviction court have applied for emergency rental assistance or are eligible
  • Help courts increase their digital capacity
  • Use legal service providers to flag upcoming cases on the eviction docket that are likely candidates for rental assistance
  • Pause hearing eviction cases until their ERA applications are processed
Adapting

Partner to expedite

Practices might include:

Maturing

Proactively address

Practices might include:

  • Connect different data streams to knowledge base/case management system with input from different data streams
  • Use analytics to pull applications to the top- prioritizing people who are behind on utilities/other risks

Guidance

What steps can ERA grantees take to prevent evictions for nonpayment of rent?

Treasury strongly encourages grantees to develop partnerships with courts in their jurisdiction that adjudicate evictions for nonpayment of rent to help prevent evictions and develop eviction diversion programs. For example, grantees should consider: (1) providing information to judges, magistrates, court clerks, and other relevant court officials about the availability of assistance under ERA programs and housing stability services; (2) working with eviction courts to provide information about assistance under ERA programs to tenants and landlords as early in the adjudication process as possible; and (3) engaging providers of legal services and other housing stability services to assist households against which an eviction action for nonpayment of rent has been filed.

FAQ #36

Added on June 24, 2021

Can grantees prohibit landlords from pursuing eviction for nonpayment of rent for some period after receiving ERA assistance?

With respect to landlords that receive funds under an ERA program for prospective rent, the grantee must prohibit the landlord from evicting the tenant for nonpayment of rent during the period covered by the assistance.

In addition, with respect to landlords that receive funds for rental arrears, to promote the purpose of the program the grantee is encouraged to prohibit the landlord from evicting the tenant for nonpayment of rent for some period of time, consistent with applicable law.

In all cases, Treasury strongly encourages grantees to require landlords that receive funds under the ERA, as a condition of receiving the funds, not to evict tenants for nonpayment of rent for 30 to 90 days longer than the period covered by the rental assistance.

FAQ #32

Added on May 7, 2021

White House Eviction Prevention Summit

On June 30, 2021 the White House hosted a first of its kind virtual Eviction Prevention Summit. The Summit included two parts: a public plenary on best practices on eviction prevention and a series of breakout sessions for local public officials, court officials, legal services organizations, local bar associations, community-based organizations, landlord associations, tenant advocates, emergency rental assistance administrators, and local philanthropies representing 46 cities across the country to develop eviction prevention action plans for their local areas.