2020 Archive Material: Housing, Debt, and Consumer Issues

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  • As federal agencies publish guidance related to COVID-19 and implement the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, NLADA and The Justice in Government Project are tracking developments relevant to various non-LSC federal funding sources that can support civil legal aid. Follow developments here.
  • On September 24, 2020, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California issued an Order certifying a nationwide class of people incarcerated in state and federal prisons, and granting the plaintiffs’ motion for preliminary injunction requiring the Treasury and IRS to stop withholding CARES Act stimulus funds from plaintiffs or any class member on the sole basis of their incarcerated status.
  • On September 4, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an order declaring that preventing residential evictions is a necessary public health response to limit the spread of COVID-19, and halting the eviction of a renters earning less than $99,000 until December 31. Unlike earlier federal eviction moratoria, the order does not apply only to properties with federally-backed mortgages. State or local moratoria supersede the order if they provide a greater level of protection.
  • Numerous states and local jurisdictions have instituted eviction and foreclosure moratoria. The National Low-Income Housing Coalition and Regional Housing Legal Services are tracking and mapping these policies.
  • Brennan Center for Justice: Easing the Burden of Fees and Fines During Covid-19 - A list of postive steps states have taken to limit the imposition and collection of court fines and fees.
  • Fines & Fees Justice Center: COVID-19 Crisis: Policy Recommendations and Policy Tracker
  • National Consumer Law Center: What States Should Do: Stabilizing Consumer Finances During the Coronavirus Crisis


  • The Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act was passed by the House of Representatives and is awaiting action in the Senate. If passed, HEROES would provide 200 billion in funding for housing and homelessness programs in response to the coronavirus crisis. The National Low-Income Housing Coalition has published a detailed breakdown of this potential funding.
  • Student Defense and the National Consumer Law Center (NCLC) filed a class action lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Education and Secretary Betsy DeVos, claiming continued garnishment of the wages of borrowers of certain federal student loans in violation of the CARES Act.
  • The CARES Act provides homeowners the right to request forbearance on any mortgage insured by any federal agency, and prevents lessors of properties with mortgages insured by any federal agency from evicting or assessing penalties for non-payment of rent for three months. It also provides $4 billion in funding for the Emergency Solutions Grants program within the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, and $900 million for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program. CARES also provides limited relief on certain types of government-held or insured debt including a short period of forbearance on mortgages and suspension of payments on Federal Direct and some Federal Families Education Loans.
  • U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) issued a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures for certain homeowners with FHA-insured mortgages. HUD has also provided updated guidance for grantees.
  • U.S. financial oversight agencies released a joint letter encouraging financial institutions to avoid penalizing people who are unable to meet financial obligations.

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