HUD’s $20 million grant doubles amount of eviction legal aid


FILE – Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia Fudge testifies before the Senate Appropriations Committee on President Joe Biden’s budget requests, on Capitol Hill in Washington, June 10, 2021. HUD doubles the size of its health protection program evictions, designed to finance legal assistance for tenants wishing to stay in their accommodation. Fudge described the new funding as doubling down on a proven method to mitigate the financial damage caused by the COVID pandemic.J. Scott Applewhite/AP

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Department of Housing and Urban Development is doubling the size of its eviction protection program, designed to fund legal assistance for tenants who want to stay in their homes.

HUD’s $20 million grant, announced Monday, will not provide any kind of direct rent relief; instead, it will fund legal services and representation for families facing eviction. The funds will be distributed through the Eviction Protection Grant Program to 11 nonprofit organizations and government entities, with grants ranging from $1 million to $2.4 million. Recipients of the new wave of funding include Pine Tree Legal Assistance of Portland, Maine, and the City of San Antonio, Texas.

HUD launched the Eviction Protection Grant program last November, with an initial $20 million awarded to 10 legal service providers.

HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge described the new funding as doubling down on a proven method to mitigate the financial damage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We must continue to do all we can to help people retain quality housing,” Fudge said in a statement. “We know that access to legal services and eviction diversion programs work. It helps people avoid evictions and protects tenants’ rights.”

Funding can also be used to help landlords access emergency housing assistance and will generally help reduce the caseload in eviction courts across the country, Fudge said.

And the grant program is expected to particularly help people of color — they are disproportionately represented among evictees — as well as renters with limited English proficiency and people with disabilities, the department said.

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