The second half of 2021 has been a bit of a limbo for pandemic relief programs. Many have been abandoned; others supposed to take their place have not yet started.
Here’s how it could affect tenants and landlords in 2022.
With waves of wage cuts, layoffs and skyrocketing inflation, the pandemic has only worsened inequalities for low-income residents.
Meanwhile, housing costs continue to rise. The Wyoming House Price Index, which measures average housing costs, rose 11% between fall 2020 and fall 2021, according to federal data. This is the largest annual increase since at least 1975, when the index was first published.
So when the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s moratorium on evictions was lifted in August, tenants and advocates feared it would spark a wave of evictions across the country.
This has not yet happened, to our knowledge.
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It’s too early to say why, the lab said in a December 9 press release. After a slow start, emergency rental assistance programs in many states have done a much better job distributing cash to landlords and tenants this summer, he notes. That, along with other federal assistance programs such as one-time stimulus payments and unemployment insurance, appears to have limited the evictions.
Some parts of that safety net will not be there in 2022. Improvements to pandemic unemployment insurance have already expired, and the fate of protections like the child tax credit remains uncertain.
However, Wyoming’s emergency rental aid money is unlikely to run out anytime soon.
The Federal Emergency Rent Assistance Program (ERAP) has set aside $ 325 million to help keep Wyoming tenants in their homes.
This amount may change some; the US Treasury began redistributing ERAP money from states as needed in the fall and will continue this year.
Yet the Wyoming Department of Family Services has so far distributed only $ 14.5 million of its rent assistance. As of Wednesday, 9,019 claims were submitted and 5,670 were paid.
The federal government instituted a moratorium on foreclosures in March 2020, paving the way for millions of Americans to defer payments on federally guaranteed mortgages. Many private lenders have also allowed their borrowers to press pause.
The moratorium has worked: Seizures in the United States in the first half of 2021 reached record levels, according to ATTOM, a foreclosure data company.
Yet most suspended mortgage payments resumed in the fall. Federally guaranteed mortgages can be deferred up to 18 months, and with private lenders, this limit is usually shorter.
The Homeowner Assistance Fund (HAF), part of the US bailout, was created to provide another cushion. It gives states money to help homeowners who are struggling to pay their mortgage, utilities, or who are in arrears with property taxes.
The program also calls on states to prioritize aid to underprivileged Americans. This includes people who live in low-income areas and those who belong to marginalized racial, cultural or ethnic groups.
The Treasury has set aside $ 50 million for the Wyoming HAF; the state is just waiting for federal approval to begin.
As with ERAP, the Wyoming Department of Family Services will oversee its distribution.
Once launched, $ 40 million will go into direct homeowner assistance. And an additional $ 10 million goes for administrative purposes, according to the ministry’s website.