Coronavirus Relief Agreement Reached After Months of Uncertainty

A brief eviction moratorium, $25 billion in rent aid, Paycheck Protection Program loans, supplemental unemployment benefits and checks to individuals are among the many provisions included in the relief bill signed into law by President Trump on December 27, 2020 after months of negotiations among congressional leaders and the White House. The Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act was rolled together with provisions to fund the government for the rest of fiscal year 2021 and several other measures.

The following list summarizes some of the bill’s key provisions relevant for affordable rural housing providers. HAC will provide more details as they become available.

  • Eviction moratorium: extends the Centers for Disease Control’s moratorium through January 31, 2021, without making any changes to the CDC’s language;
  • Rent assistance: provides $25 billion to be distributed to states, local governments and tribes by the Treasury Department to be used for up to 15 months of past or future housing costs for renters with incomes under 80 percent of area median; there are no additional funds for HUD or USDA housing programs;
  • Coronavirus Relief Fund deadline: extends the deadline for states, localities and tribes to use CRF funds provided by the CARES Act, so they can continue spending that money through December 31, 2021 instead of December 31, 2020;
  • Unemployment benefits: extends federal unemployment compensation, which will provide $300 per week through March 14, 2021 in addition to unemployment insurance payments provided by states;
  • Cash payments to individuals: provides $600 for individuals making less than $75,000 per year or $1,200 per couple making up to $150,000 plus $600 per child;
  • Paycheck Protection Program: adds new funding and makes some changes to the Paycheck Protection Program and other aid for small businesses;
  • Rural broadband: provides funding for broadband, including some targeted to rural areas;
  • CDFIs: creates an Emergency Capital Investment Program with $9 billion for lenders, including Community Development Financial Institutions and minority depository institutions, to invest in places disproportionately impacted by the pandemic;
  • Low Income Housing Tax Credit: sets 4 percent as the floor for the 4 percent housing credit, a change that is estimated to finance an additional 130,000 rental units in the next ten years.

Covid-19 Cases Surpass 2.2 Million in Rural America

COVID 19 reported cases and deaths continue to grow at an accelerated pace. There are now more than 2.2 million rural cases, and there were nearly 900,000 new reported COVID-19 cases in rural areas over the last 30 days.   

UPDATE: COVID-19 in Rural America – DECEMBER 3, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic is a global health crisis affecting nearly every community – including rural America. While there are still many uncertainties, the health crisis changes daily and the pandemic’s impact on rural communities continues to grow and evolve. The Housing Assistance Council (HAC) presents summary findings of COVID-19 in rural America as of early December.

RURAL COVID-19 CASES INCREASED BY NEARLY 60 PERCENT IN THE LAST MONTH ALONE

Total Reported COVID-19 Cases February 20- December 3, 2020

The first reported case of COVID-19 outside of metropolitan areas came on February 20, 2020. As of December 3, 2020, there were more than 2.2 million reported cases of COVID-19 and approximately 38,000 associated deaths in communities outside of metropolitan areas. Between November 3 and December 3, communities outside of metropolitan areas reported 859,000 new cases of COVID-19 – a 63 percent increase over the month period. All but two U.S. counties outside of metropolitan areas now have reported COVID-19 cases, and 93 percent of outside metro counties have also reported associated deaths related to the virus.

RURAL CASES CONTINUE AN UPWARD TREND

Newly Reported COVID-19 Cases February 20 – DECEMBER 3, 2020

Nationally, the number of new COVID-19 cases continues to increase and reported rural cases also continue to grow to their highest levels since the pandemic began. Between November 20 and December 3, rural areas reported an average of 29,552 cases per day. Similarly, rural reported COVID related deaths were up to an average of 434 per day compared to 331 deaths per day over the previous two-week period.

 

RURAL COVID CASES CONTINUE TO OUTPACE THE OUTSIDE METROPOLITAN POPULATION AS A WHOLE

Rural Share of COVID-19 Reported Cases

Initial impacts of COVID-19 were greatest in urban and suburban communities and these areas still have the largest share of cases and deaths. Since February 20, 2020, approximately 16 percent of the total reported COVID-19 cases were identified in rural communities. But the rural share of COVID-19 cases continues to be larger than the outside metro proportion of the population. On December 3, 2020, 17 percent of new cases and 25 percent of new deaths were reported outside of metropolitan areas.

 

 

RURAL COVID-19 CASES ARE INCREASING IN THE UPPER MIDWEST AND WEST

Reported Rural COVID-19 Rates per 100,000

Only two U.S. counties have not reported COVID-19 cases, but the virus’ impacts vary widely across the nation’s rural geography. Rural America simultaneously has the highest and lowest rates of reported COVID-19 cases. There have been several instances of extremely high per-capita infection rates in rural areas – notably on some Native American lands and communities with meat packing and correctional facilities.  In the past weeks, the rural case and death rates increased most dramatically in the plains and upper Midwest, Southeastern, and Western states.

ABOUT THE DATA

The information in this brief derives from Housing Assistance Council tabulations of data from The New York Times, based on reports from state and local health agencies, and the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2014-2018 American Community Survey. 

In these analyses, the terms “rural” and Outside Metropolitan Areas are synonymous and refer to counties and counts outside of OMB designated Metropolitan Areas. 

The Housing Assistance Council is a national nonprofit organization that helps build homes and communities across rural America. 

Covid-19 Cases Per 100,000 Outside Metropolitan Areas - 10-24-2020

Over 1 Million Covid-19 Cases in Rural America – 24,000 Deaths

After nine months since the first COVID 19 case was reported in a rural community, there are 1.2 million rural cases, and rural deaths from the virus are now consistently above 25 percent of the daily national total.  

UPDATE: COVID-19 in Rural America – October 24, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic is a global health crisis affecting nearly every community – including rural America. While there are still many uncertainties, the health crisis changes daily and the pandemic’s impact on rural communities continues to grow and evolve. The Housing Assistance Council (HAC) presents summary findings of COVID-19 in rural America after nine months since the first reported case outside of metropolitan areas on February 20, 2020.

Covid-19 Reported Cases Outside Metropolitan Areas, October 24, 2020

MORE THAN 1 MILLION RURAL AMERICANS HAVE BEEN INFECTED WITH COVID-19

Total Reported COVID-19 Cases February 20- October 24, 2020

The first reported case of COVID-19 outside of metropolitan areas came on February 20, 2020. As of October 24, 2020, there were more than 1.1 million reported cases of COVID-19 and approximately 24,000 associated deaths in communities outside of metropolitan areas. All but four counties outside of metropolitan areas now have reported COVID-19 cases, and over 80 percent of outside metro counties have also reported associated deaths related to the virus.

 

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RURAL CASES ARE AT THEIR HIGHEST LEVELS SINCE THE PANDEMIC BEGAN

Newly Reported COVID-19 Cases February 20 – October 24, 2020

Nationally, the number of new COVID-19 cases have begun to increase again and reported rural cases have also grown to some of their highest levels since the pandemic began. Between October 11 and October 24, rural areas reported an average of 12,807 cases per day – an upward trend of about 30 percent in the past 14-day period. Similarly, rural reported COVID related deaths were up to an average of 217 per day compared to 172 deaths per day over the previous two-week period.

RURAL COVID CASES NOW OUTPACE THE OUTSIDE METROPOLITAN POPULATION AS A WHOLE

Rural Share of COVID-19 Reported Cases

Initial impacts of COVID-19 were greatest in urban communities and these areas still have the largest share of cases and deaths. Since February 20, 2020, about 14 percent of the total reported COVID-19 cases were identified in rural communities. But the rural share of COVID-19 cases continues to rise nationally. On August 24, 2020, approximately 17 percent of new COVID-19 cases and 19 percent of deaths were reported in rural communities. On October 24, 2020, 21 percent of new cases and 34 percent of new deaths were reported outside of metropolitan areas.

RURAL COVID-19 CASES ARE HIGHEST IN THE SOUTH AND INCREASING IN THE UPPER MIDWEST

Reported Rural COVID-19 Rates per 100,000

Over 99 percent of counties outside of Metropolitan areas have reported COVID-19 cases, but the virus’ impacts vary widely across the nation’s rural geography. There have been several instances of extremely high per-capita infection rates in rural areas – notably on some Native American lands and communities with meat packing and correctional facilities.  From September 24- October 24, the rural case and death rates increased most dramatically in the plains and upper Midwest, as well as in some Appalachian and southern communities.

COVID-19 Reported Case Rates Per 100,000 Outside of Metropolitan Areas - October 24, 2020

About the Data

The information in this brief derives from Housing Assistance Council tabulations of data from The New York Times, based on reports from state and local health agencies, and the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2014-2018 American Community Survey.

In these analyses, the terms “rural” and Outside Metropolitan Areas are synonymous and refer to counties and counts outside of OMB designated Metropolitan Areas. 

The Housing Assistance Council is a national nonprofit organization that helps build homes and communities across rural America. 
www.ruralhome.org

Covid-19 Cases Surpass 900,000 In Rural America – 20,000 Deaths

Coronavirus cases in rural America are as high as they have been since the pandemic began. The level of reported rural cases and deaths from the virus now consistently outpace the rural share of the national population.

UPDATE: Covid-19 in Rural America

The COVID-19 pandemic is a global health crisis affecting nearly every community – including rural America. While there are still many uncertainties, the health crisis changes daily and the pandemic’s impact on rural communities continues to grow and evolve. The Housing Assistance Council (HAC) presents summary findings of COVID-19 in rural America as of early October 2020.

 

MORE THAN 900,000 RURAL AMERICANS HAVE BEEN INFECTED WITH COVID-19

Total Reported COVID-19 Cases February 20- October 1, 2020

The first reported case of COVID-19 outside of metropolitan areas came on February 20, 2020. As of October 1, 2020, there were more than 900,000 reported cases of COVID-19 and approximately 20,000 associated deaths in communities outside of metropolitan areas. All but 9 counties outside of metropolitan areas now have reported COVID-19 cases, and nearly 80 percent of outside metro counties have also reported associated deaths related to the virus.

 

 

 

RURAL CASES ARE AT THEIR HIGHEST LEVELS SINCE THE PANDEMIC BEGAN

Rural Share of COVID-19 Reported Cases

Nationally, the number of new COVID-19 cases have begun to increase again and reported rural cases have also grown to some of their highest levels since the pandemic began. Between September 17 and October 1, rural areas reported an average of 8,543 cases per day – an upward trend of about 25 percent in the past 14-day period. Similarly, rural reported COVID related deaths were up 17 percent over the past 14 days.

 

 

 

RURAL COVID CASES NOW OUTPACE THE OUTSIDE METROPOLITAN POPULATION AS A WHOLE

Rural Share of COVID-19 Reported Cases

Initial impacts of COVID-19 were greatest in urban communities and these areas still have the largest share of cases and deaths. Since February 20, 2020, about 12 percent of the total reported COVID-19 cases were identified in rural communities. But the rural share of COVID-19 cases continues to rise nationally. On September 1, 2020, approximately 15 percent of new COVID-19 cases and 19 percent of deaths were reported in rural communities. On October 1, 2020, 22 percent of new cases and 23 percent of new deaths were reported outside of metropolitan areas.

 

 

 

RURAL COVID-19 CASES ARE HIGHEST IN THE SOUTH AND INCREASING IN THE UPPER MIDWEST

Reported Rural COVID-19 Rates per 100,000

Over 99 percent of counties outside of Metropolitan areas have reported COVID-19 cases, but the virus’ impacts vary widely across the nation’s rural geography. There have been several instances of extremely high per-capita infection rates in rural areas – notably on some Native American lands and communities with meat packing and correctional facilities. From September 1- October 1, the rural case and death rates increased most dramatically in the plains and upper Midwest, as well as in some Appalachian and southern communities.

ABOUT THE DATA

The information in this brief derives from Housing Assistance Council tabulations of data from The New York Times, based on reports from state and local health agencies, and the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2014-2018 American Community Survey.

In these analyses, the terms “rural” and Outside Metropolitan Areas are synonymous and refer to counties and counts outside of OMB designated Metropolitan Areas.

The Housing Assistance Council is a national nonprofit organization that helps build homes and communities across rural America.

Emergency Rental Relief is Overdue

On September 16, 2020 a statement from seven leading affordable housing organizations called for immediate rental assistance, paired with financial support for affordable housing providers, to supplement the protection provided by the CDC’s recent eviction moratorium. The statement was issued by the Housing Assistance Council along with Enterprise Community Partners, the Housing Partnership NetworkLeadingAge, the Local Initiatives Support Corporation, the National Housing Trust and Stewards of Affordable Housing for the Future.

For six months, Americans have sheltered, worked, and studied at home to stay safe and healthy. Tens of millions of our neighbors, however, have also lost jobs and wages due to COVID-19 and risk losing the safety of their homes, even with a recent eviction moratorium from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). We urge Congress and the Administration to provide rental assistance, paired with financial support for affordable housing providers, to avoid widespread homelessness and the loss of affordable homes. Earlier this month, after negotiations between Congress and the White House failed, the CDC took the unprecedented step of issuing an order banning evictions for nonpayment of rent for some renters through December 31, 2020. The CDC’s eviction moratorium is a public health measure to prevent the spread of COVID-19 by enabling renters to practice social distancing and comply with stay-at-home orders.

While the CDC’s action provides important temporary protections for certain renters across the country, it represents only a partial step toward housing stability. In addition to barring evictions, any effective housing stability policy must also include rental assistance for renters and owners. Help is needed for renters because accumulating arrearages of back rent, penalties, and fees only sets them up for widespread failure on January 1, 2021. Help is needed for owners because their lenders, utility providers, and property services providers still fully expect payments to continue regardless of any eviction moratorium.

Read the full statement here.

Update: COVID-19 in Rural America – September 10, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic is a global health crisis affecting nearly every community – including Rural America. While there are still many uncertainties, the health crisis changes daily and the pandemic’s impact on rural communities continues to grow and evolve. The Housing Assistance Council (HAC) presents summary findings of COVID-19 in rural America as of early September 2020.

 

TOTAL REPORTED COVID-19 CASES FEBRUARY 20- SEPTEMBER 10, 2020

The first reported case of COVID-19 outside of metropolitan areas came on February 20, 2020. As of September 10, 2020, there were more than 732,000 reported cases of COVID-19 and over 16,700 associated deaths in communities outside of Metropolitan Areas. All but 14 counties outside of metropolitan areas now have reported COVID-19 cases, and nearly three-quarters of outside metro counties have also reported associated deaths related to the virus.

 

RURAL SHARE OF COVID-19 REPORTED CASES

Initial impacts of COVID-19 were greatest in urban communities and these areas still have the largest share of cases and deaths. But the rural share of COVID-19 cases continues to rise nationally. On August 10, 2020, approximately 12 percent of new COVID-19 cases and 18 percent of deaths were reported in rural communities. On September 10, 2020, 17.9 percent of new cases and 19.7 percent of new deaths were reported outside of metropolitan areas.

REPORTED RURAL COVID-19 RATES PER 100,000

Over 99 percent of counties outside of Metropolitan areas have reported COVID-19 cases, but the virus’ impacts vary widely across the nation’s rural geography. There are several instances of extremely high per-capita infection rates in rural areas – notably on some Native American lands and communities with meat packing and correctional facilities.  From August 10- September 10, the rural case and death rates increased most dramatically in the upper Midwest and in some Appalachian and southern counties.

ABOUT THE DATA

The information in this brief derives from Housing Assistance Council tabulations of data from The New York Times, based on reports from state and local health agencies, and the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2014-2018 American Community Survey.
In these analyses, the terms “rural” and Outside Metropolitan Areas are synonymous and refer to counties and counts outside of OMB designated Metropolitan Areas. 

National Eviction Moratorium Issued

September 2, 2020 – The Centers for Disease Control has issued an eviction moratorium that will protect tenants against eviction for nonpayment of rent if they provide landlords with affidavits certifying specific information including their inability to pay. The moratorium will take effect September 4 and remain in place through December 31.

The CDC’s order explicitly recognizes the link between eviction and spreading communicable diseases. It applies throughout the U.S., except where more stringent state, tribal or local government moratoriums are in place.

It differs in some important ways from the CARES Act’s moratorium, which expired in late July. The new order is not limited to tenants in federally assisted housing. It does allow landlords to charge late fees on delayed rent payments. Also, unlike the CARES Act, the CDC’s order provides criminal penalties for violating the moratorium: a fine of at least $100,000 or a year in jail or both.

USDA and Other Federal Agencies Extend Foreclosure Moratoriums for Homeowners

Updated August 31, 2020 – Earlier this year, as Americans suffering from the economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic began to have trouble making their mortgage payments, several federal agencies took steps to protect the homeowners who use their programs. Their moratoriums on foreclosure were due to expire on August 31 but have now been extended through December 31. The following list provides links to announcements from the relevant agencies.

There was also a moratorium on eviction of tenants receiving federal assistance, which was imposed by the CARES Act in March. That expired on July 24 and has not been renewed. Some state and local eviction moratoriums remain in effect, though many have ended. Tenants renting single-family homes whose owners’ mortgages are supported by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac are protected from eviction through December 31.

Rural Unemployment Rate Declines, but 1.8 Million Rural Workers Still Unemployed

 

To access an interactive version of this map visit: https://arcg.is/Ov8bq 

The most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that rural labor markets have rebounded somewhat from astronomical unemployment rates earlier this spring. Yet, over 1.8 million rural workers are still unemployed – many as a result of the economic fallout from the COVID-19 health crisis. The June jobs numbers revealed a seasonally unadjusted unemployment rate of 8.8 percent for counties outside of metropolitan areas, down from the revised rural unemployment rate for May of 11.3 percent. The number of rural jobless fell from 2.2 million in May to an estimated 1.8 million for the month of June. At its peak in April, the BLS estimated approximately 2.8 million rural jobless with an unemployment rate of 13.6 percent in rural America.

While the rebound in the number of rural workers to just over 19 million is a positive development, there are still substantial concerns in rural labor markets as the nation still grapples with the COVID 19 health crisis. The rural unemployment rate is still nearly double the rate for February 2020 prior to the COVID crisis. Furthermore, the June job numbers do not reflect potential economic backsliding from the dramatic rise in COVID 19 cases over the summer. In the month of July there were almost as many new reported rural cases of COVID-19 than had been reported for the prior 5 months in total.

POTENTIAL UNEMPLOYMENT RAMIFICATIONS FOR RURAL HOUSING

Jobs and employment conditions have traditionally been a bellwether and leading indicator for housing trends. While the unemployment caused by COVID-19 is unprecedented and unpredictable, the continued high jobless rates signal the potential for serious concerns across the housing spectrum. Many Americans have been buoyed by large scale federal unemployment benefits and economic stimulus which largely came to an abrupt end in August and has yet to be clearly reestablished. If rural unemployment rates continue at these elevated levels, the collateral impacts to almost all sectors of the housing market could be substantial – notably the ability of unemployed households to make rent and mortgage payments.

About the Data: Information for this Brief derives from HAC tabulations of data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS) reporting. https://www.bls.gov/lau/  In this Brief the terms “Outside Metropolitan Area” and “Rural” are used synonymously and refer to counties and population outside of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) designated Metropolitan Areas. https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/Bulletin-18-04.pdf