The pandemic worsened America’s housing crisis. Here’s how Biden can help

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Biden faces steep housing challenges, from helping renters who can’t pay their rent during COVID-19 to preparing American homes for climate change. Long before Election Day, as the pandemic thrashed the economy, the housing agenda of the next presidential administration was largely set. Peoples’ abilities to pay rents and mortgages has been severely tested, putting the onus on the government to step in with protections. And while this has happened to some degree, more help will be needed as the pandemic drags on. Read Full Story

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Ithaca, New York, is the first U.S. city to say it will cancel rent during the pandemic

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Postponing rent is one thing, but how are people with no jobs supposed to pay later? This city wants to eliminate the debt of renters. In Ithaca, New York, where nearly three-quarters of residents are renters, and COVID-19 has forced many out of work, a new resolution gives the mayor the power to cancel rent debt from the last three months, both for tenants and small businesses. The resolution—which also freezes rents and requires landlords to offer tenants lease extensions—requires approval from the state government, but housing activists believe that will happen. The city is the first in the country to act on nationwide calls to cancel rent because of the pandemic. Read Full Story

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It’s a lot easier to get people to pay rent if you don’t demand it all at once

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It’s time for landlords to rethink rent. Sometimes it’s easier to pay in small installments than one big check: Offering tenants flexibility increased the chances of getting paid in-full during the pandemic by 45%. Times are tough for everyone right now, but especially difficult for those who struggle to pay for housing. In April, on-time rent payments slipped for landlords on a colossal scale, with only 69% of tenants being able to make their payments on time nationwide . This compares to 82% of tenants making payments on time in the same period of 2019. Read Full Story

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Can this flexible rent payment app help renters avoid evictions?

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Paying rent on a less strict schedule can be a lifesaver for some people. Till helps give people a solution that’s not just a one-time monthly payment. Even before the pandemic, many Americans struggled to afford rent, collectively paying landlords billions in late fees each year. On average, 3.6 million eviction cases are filed each year, and 1.5 million Americans end up being evicted. Read Full Story

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Rent is almost due again: Here’s how well your state is protecting renters from eviction

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This scorecard explains what measures your state is doing to keep you in your house if you lost your job due to the pandemic. With millions of Americans out of work and unable to pay rent because of the coronavirus pandemic, activists and legislators have been pushing for protections like eviction moratoriums and leniency regarding late fees. With no policies coming from the federal government, though, it’s been up to individual states to make sure their residents have stable housing, at a time when access to safe housing is directly linked to public health—and not every state is taking the same steps. Read Full Story

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Hasan Minhaj’s ‘Patriot Act’ wants to help you figure out what to do if you can’t pay rent

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Federal, state, and local COVID-19 relief plans have created a confusing mismatch of regulations about evictions and rent payments that can be hard to navigate. The show put together some helpful info. Rent is almost due again, but for many of the millions of Americans out of work during the COVID-19 pandemic, their financial situation hasn’t changed. Nearly 20% of renters across the country did not pay their May rent in the first week of the month, and nearly 10% still didn’t by May 20 . Rent moratoriums and eviction protections are complicated and can vary from state to state. If you’re having trouble paying rent and aren’t sure what measures are in place to help you during this pandemic, you can now go to dontgetkickedout.com , a website of renter resources put together by the Netflix show Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj . Read Full Story

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This chatbot helps New Yorkers report housing discrimination

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The service will both help people report landlords who are violating the law about renting to people using housing vouchers, and also try to measure the scope of the problem. For the tens of thousands of New Yorkers who receive rental assistance vouchers, government help paying rent isn’t always enough of a guarantee they’ll find housing. Those who rely on vouchers such as Section 8 or CityFHEPS can face roadblocks when brokers and landlords turn them down, saying they don’t accept such vouchers or saying that a unit is no longer available when it actually is—actions that are illegal under city and state laws and examples of source-of-income discrimination . Read Full Story

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If you have a spare room, you can host a person leaving prison

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Homecoming Project connects people coming back after a jail sentence with a place to stay—and pays their rent to help them get back on their feet. For someone getting out of prison, one of the biggest challenges is finding somewhere to live—especially in an ultra-expensive housing market such as the Bay Area. A Bay Area-based program called the Homecoming Project offers an alternative to the usual listings on Craigslist: It links former prisoners with homeowners who have spare rooms, and it covers the first six month’s rent. Read Full Story

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What Big Tech has to gain—and lose—from a Biden presidency

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A Biden win means friendlier immigration policies and the likely end of trade war. But the tech giants will still be facing bipartisan goals to enforce antitrust and reform social media. The Trump Administration has brought both helpful and harmful changes to Big Tech, some awkward relationships, and enough drama for a lifetime. Big Tech companies were among the biggest beneficiaries of the Trump Tax Cuts of 2017, but they were also made to pay—in tariffs—for their decisions long ago to move supply chains and manufacturers to China. The disconnect in values between tech leaders like Tim Cook and the Trump administration couldn’t have been much wider, and yet tech companies were forced to maintain cordial relations with the White House. Read Full Story

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6 million American households could face eviction on January 1

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The CDC’s eviction moratorium expires on January 1. Even if the Biden administration has a plan to help renters, unless Trump acts there will be a 20-day gap when landlords can try to evict anyone who didn’t pay. As 2020 ends, millions of Americans will face a new challenge: the risk of eviction in January if the current CDC eviction moratorium is allowed to expire on December 31. By one estimate , as many as 6,471,000 households could be at risk of losing their homes as the pandemic continues to grow. Read Full Story

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