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tv   Washington Journal Jenny Schuetz  CSPAN  August 5, 2021 12:01pm-12:47pm EDT

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ext with us is jenny schuetz, senior fellow at the brookings institute. . -- institution, on with us this morning to talk about evictions, covid-19 research and's, and limitations on evictions. guest: good to be here. host: what areas have been hardest hit by evictions in the country during the pandemic? and since some of those evictions -- those eviction restrictions have been eased up in some states. guest: this is a nationwide problem. renters all over the u.s. have been harder hit by job losses during the pandemic. we know low-wage workers stand most child losses and income losses, those tend to be renter households. that tends to be true all over the country. some of the areas particularly hardest hit and slowest to reopen are the ones that depend on services, particularly tourism, like las vegas, south florida, new york.
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housing instability all over the country and whether or not you are protected by eviction protections depends on where you live. the federal moratorium that expired extended this week we covered -- would have covered everyone. host: the biden administration this week is issuing a new guideline. the cdc eviction order in areas that are substantial and high transmission. what did the cdc say exactly, jenny schuetz? guest: the cdc is still relying on public health as the primary reason to have a moratorium. otherwise this is outside of their usual territory. the rationale here is when an eviction happens and a family is forced to move out of their current home to someplace else, that creates more interactions between people and increases the likelihood of contagion. what they have done now is say
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that the moratorium covers counties that have a higher risk and higher exposure of the delta variant, where we see more levels of transmission. so this is tying the eviction moratorium directly to the public health crisis and saying we need this in place until people get vaccinated, until the public health threat has died down. host: i want to ask you about the other piece of this, rental assistance. this is an opinion piece from usa today this morning. the eviction crisis need not be a disaster, they writes. they say congress allocated $25 million in rental assistance in december and an additional 25 -- 20.5 billion in march. only 3 billion has gone out to renters and states receive the first-round of funds in february. there is more than enough blame to go around, leaving $43.55 billion unspent. the biden administration writes state governments could have
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done better and made aware ken's aware of the relief. more than half of renters and landlords did not even know the program existed. among those aware of the program, there was confusion about how it work. what was your observation and the governments options in the pandemic to provide this rental assistance? >> that's a great point. we can think of the eviction moratorium and rent relief intended to work together. to use a public health metaphor, the eviction moratorium is like a mask mandate and the rent relief is like the vaccination. the moratorium provide legal protection to keep renters in their homes to prevent illegal evictions going forward and that is to be temporary until people can get the cash to pay their rent. that is what the second half of this program -- and both of these are emergency measures to hold things off until the health emergency subsides, the economy reopens, and people can
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go back to working their job and paying rent in a regular way. we have seen problems out the door. states and cities have had over $40 billion and have not had the ability to get that into the hands of renters and landlords. it is a complicated program, something that is new for most state and local governments, they have never done it before, so they have to stand up new programs in the middle of the pandemic with lots of other things going on. they just not have been able to get this done. we have been learning over the past year some of the things holding things up. for instance, requiring people to document they have lost income, that they are not receiving any other benefits like on employment insurance. families going through a stressful economic time anyway often time have difficulty coming up with the right documentation paperwork, so people have applied for rent relief but have not heard back or been rejected because they do not have the right documentation. making this a simpler process would help get money out the door more quickly and help get
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it to people who are otherwise struggling and having a hard time meeting the requirements. host: i want to ask about the other part of the rental equation on the landlord side of it. this is a headline from the national apartment association. they are suing the federal government to recover the industries losses under the nationwide eviction moratorium. they say in their lawsuit that has a low-margin industry, where just $.10 of each rental dollar is considered profit, the debt is unsustainable and could devastate callous small businesses all simultaneously damaging housing affordability. so an aa is proud of the adaptability and flexibility -- so naa is proud of the adaptability and flexibility. it is time to make residence hall again. where is your view on the landlords, particularly the small landlords, and where they stand in this country? guest: it has been a concern in -- since the beginning that
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we have big landlords that are sort of high profit organizations but there a lot of properties owned by individuals or families who are running on margins. if we think about where the money of rent goes to, landlords use some of that to pay the mortgage on the property, pay taxes, insurance, operating expenses, and those expenses have still lasted. landlords who have a federally backed mortgage have been able to get mortgage relief the way homeowners have, but not all of the properties that have renters who cannot make rent have this backed mortgage or are able to get relief. it is clear there are smaller landlords likely feeling financial pressure. if a small indoor cannot afford to pay the mortgage in property taxes, they may be forced to sell the property. we wind up seeing some of the smaller, older properties that tend to be lower rent and more affordable, they may not get sold to investors or to owner
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occupants, and they wind up disappearing from the affordable housing stock, which would be a shame because we are already losing units. host: our guest is jenny schuetz . we are talking about evictions, rental assistance, and the covid-19 pandemic. we have renters for -- we have a line for renters and landlords. if you are renter, it is (202) 748-8000. if you are a landlord, it is (202) 748-8001. for all others, it is (202) 748-8002. you have used the term affordability a couple times. when you look at affordability, how do you define affordability in terms of the rental arena and in housing and buying a single-family house, for example? guest: the department of housing and urban development has a standard definition of affordability, which says households should spend about a third of their monthly income on housing costs. that's rent or the mortgage, utilities, all the housing cost inclusive.
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those that spend more than that our cost burdened and will likely not have enough money to pay for food and transportation and other necessities. we know even before the pandemic, the poorest 20% of households spent more than half of their income on rent, which meant they were living on very thin financial margins and that is why so many of them have run into problems with the pandemic. any loss of income, cuts back in hours, loss of job means they essentially cannot cover the cost of housing and fall into debt. what we have seen is a financially fragile population to start with that has absorbed a lot of the job losses in the pandemic and have not been able to keep up. host: the housing market across the country in the past year certainly this year has skyrocketed in terms of single-family homes in particular. how has that affected the rental market? guest: there is some overlap but there are not really direct comparables. the owner occupied market dearly
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-- deals with higher income households. low income households tend to rent and higher income households tend to buy. those among higher income renters that kept their jobs and particularly were living in larger cities may have decided this was the time to become a first-time homebuyer. rather than paying $3000 a month for a two-bedroom apartment, it is time to buy a house with a little more space and shift to the owner occupied market. what that has done is free up space at the high end of the market but that does not apply directly to low-end renters that bind large were barely making by and they tend to live in different neighborhoods, owned by different types of landlords. the segregation in the housing market comes into play. host: do we have an idea of how many people in this country right now are facing eviction? guest: it's a really tough question to answer because traditionally we have not kept good data on this.
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movies has estimated about 6 million households are behind on their rent and could be vulnerable to eviction. it is important to remember many of those are households with children, so the total number of families may between 12 million and 15 million. it is not a trivial number of people. the temporary eviction moratorium is one of the things holding them in place. host: back to the homeownership arena, any idea how many people are both late or 90 days or more late in their mortgage payments? guest: we have seen a lot less distress in the owner occupied market than the rental market. much less than during the foreclosure crisis, in part because homeowners tended to be in white-collar jobs, they tended to be likely to work from home and keep their job. the assistance that came to homeowners is very different than renters. the federal government has a much bigger role in the owner
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occupied market because it backs a lot of award edges. at the beginning of the crisis, the federal government directed fannie mae and federal -- freddie mac to extend to their borrowers and that not only allows them to defer payments on their mortgage for a year but what they did not pay out added to the balance of the mortgage and you can pay it over the next 20 to 30 years. so that was a nice technique that allowed homeowners to defer their payments if they lost income and have a longer time to make up the debt. on the rental side, even if you are able to stop paying your vent -- your rent while the moratorium was in place, at the end of that period of time, all of the back rent would be due any lump sum and renters do not have that kind of money unless they get rental assistance. phone host: host: lines for renters and landlords and all others. we will get to your comments momentarily. we touched on evictions, we touched on rental assistance.
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jen psaki was asked about the speed at which the government was giving that money to people. [video clip] >> this is about money and funding. all states and localities have the money to extended by a month or two months. there have been challenges understandable, including the fact there is no federal infrastructure for distributing this money. states are doing it on their own. there are challenges where even while meeting landlords and others are trying to figure out how to accept applications. that is a solution for the short-term. jenny schuetz, the press secretary saying those states have the money. i think you pointed out part of the problem is setting up the systems to get the money distributive. is there concern some of the states may not use the federal money for the purpose in which it is intended? guest:it is not that they will e
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using the money for something else, but they will not be able to get it out effectively. states have set up programs were either the renter or the landlord to apply for the money have to provide for various kinds of documentation. all of that gets reviewed by public sector staff, find someone that is eligible, then provide the check. these programs have been set up in slightly different ways by states and cities. one of the downsides of devolving authority to local government, there are a lot of ways to construct the programs that leads to confusion -- renters, landlords in particular may not know if they are eligible, how to apply -- getting the word out to people has been hard. it is not like we have a centralized email distribution list that treasury can hit a button on their computer and suddenly finds out this exists. you have to find local channels to get in touch with people. low-income renters are a hard
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population to reach. these are often vulnerable households who might not have a high level of trust in government and may not have worked with government agencies before. it is establishing a new relationship and new program in the middle of a pandemic -- these were high bars and conditions to meet. host: the wall street journal has an opinion piece. they say there are 48 million rental housing units in the u.s.. 42% of them, day to day management was performed either by the owner or an unpaid agents. we have lines for renters and landlords. grantors, 202-748-8000. landlords, 202-748-8001. all others, 202-748-8002. eric in virginia is a landlord.
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caller: i want to talk about the housing issues and what people are not allowed to pay their rent. as a -- able to pay the rent. as a homeowner, of several home -- small homes, people were getting their stimulus packages no one was suffering during the pandemic. people gained weight, and now that it was about to expire, the biden administration extended it again. at some point people have to pay their rent and pay what they are supposed to be paying because other people are getting hurt at the same time. just because you own a property coming really doesn't mean you are making money. if you really look at it, i am sure your guest can tell you the average homeowner renting out to someone is really not profiting. you have your mortgage, your principal interest, your taxes, insurance, incidentals, capital expenses, and then liabilities.
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host: how many properties do you rent out, eric? caller: two. -- host: thank you for the call. guest: that is a typical situation of a small landlord that owns one or two properties and it is true for most landlords, the expenses -- that covers a lot of the rent. we do in fact see a lot of landlords who are just barely covering, and to have taken on, in some cases, more debt over the past year. there is a fair amount of variation whether those landlords have a separately-back gauge. if so, they can provide for forbearance so they don't have to pay their mortgage, giving them more time until the rental assistance comes through, but it is absolutely right that the rental a yes, go ahead? caller: i would like to know if you respect howard stern's p enis?
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host: i'm sorry? good morning. caller: i have come on to a situation where i have not been able to pay the rent due to covid and various restrictions. i heard your guest before talk about the landlord -- like people are intentionally not paying rent. i have paid my rent and avoided paying, like, car insurance my registration. there are a lot of government fees with the government is trying to helping one aspect, and in a lot of other aspects, the government is your eagle -- people. they are dim -- people. they are demanding taxes, fees -- all of that continues on because it is government business. i feel bad for my landlord could i know i am not his only tenant. at the same time, these government programs have to be able to be accessible.
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now, i found with trying to access programs that they have here in california, you are jumping through a lot of hurdles and getting nowhere. no offices are open because most of the government employees are still working remotely you cannot go -- you cannot address the federal debt, the irs, the franchised debt board. if they are in the office, they are not allowing society to coming into get answers to the questions were to get assistance with their banks, so now you are stuck trying to deal with things on your own. at the same time, you have other people that are exploiting the situation. host: what kind of rental situation arguing -- an apartment? caller: i am in a a home. host: thank you for the call.
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jenny schuetz. guest: that brings up one of the challenging issues -- local governments and state governments shifted to working from home at the same time the private sector did. they tried to construct rental assistance programs for people could online, you would upload documents of your income statement, your pay stubs, evidence you had been laid off from your job. they try to create a way to do all of this via the web, to do online portals, but it turns out a lot of low income renters do not have good internet service. that is one of the first things that got cut off. people would access the internet at schools and libraries -- those were closed, too. if you think about creating an online application process for people that do not have good internet access, it will make it hard to apply for things, even nonprofit service providers who work with low income renters may have shut offices due to the public health threat.
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it has taken a while to realize you have to have a place for people to drop off documents in person, make it easier for people to apply, create an application process designed to work with mobile phones instead of traditional computers, but that is all a learning process local governments have gone through. host: cindy on our renter's line in dover, ohio. good morning. caller: yes. i am new to this as a renter, and being a senior now, ok, they make you jump through hoops, all right? also, they judge you, ok? they say that everybody is playing the system. this is what they do with low-income people anyway. here i had a medical condition and i was asking for help so my funds would not run out. here, where i am at, the entity,
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they work on how should i say a prophet? i am in place where your electricity is guided, ok? it is not regulated. that is what i am trying to say. we are running into hurdles here because now when you cannot get a hold of them, when you have the day off or whatever because they are, like you said, with the federal, they have certain days they can only work, and now when you try to go apply, i am already behind the eight ball because they are trying to keep things going. then i get kicked to the teeth -- in the teeth because this was not my idea to have cancer. this is what i ended up doing. they penalize you because it think you have been low income the whole time. you are paying, had a nice job, everything, and now you are using your income, just trying
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to survive. that is not fair because they tell you we have people playing the system. you have people with that mentality trying to do this. the landlords here in this county are all realtors. they have control of everything, even the housing market. if you wanted to get something low income to try to buy, you cannot do it. here they want 2000 dollars for a rent? that hundred $50, and the income is not what the area is. host: what will the $2300 -- what kind of place will that rent? caller: that is what is on the market right now, 2800 dollars, and it is a realtor that owns it, and she even has for low income, for housing, you see what i mean? you are just behind all the way around.
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we will let you -- host: we will let you go there. jenny schuetz, any thoughts? guest: the caller brings up an interesting point -- we have been focusing on rent owed to landlords, and often there is a package of things involve particular renters in single-family home. they might also be responsible for utilities, paying electric bills and we have seen problems people getting cut off from utilities. do they want to use assistance to pay rent or utilities? people cannot cut off utilities if it prevents peoples healthy living and the unit, but everyone is taking a hit, and
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the question is how do we get money out to get services going, keep renters in the homes and keep them habitable in the long run. host: in terms of affordable housing, this is from the greater greater washington website -- an anti-nimby bill will be law in virginia. the opinion piece says in less than six weeks virginia will become the third state in the nation is officially going into the book saying no to nimby, pro housing advocates increasingly tag the not in my back yard naysayers as the main culprit behind americans historic low of housing construction over the past decade.
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this is the third state to do this. do you see that as a trend? jenny schuetz there is definite -- guest: there is that only a trend at the state level and the local level to make it easier to the apartment, we have essentially made it illegal to build a single-family detached home on the vast majority of the country, and that doesn't act how much housing is available, where it is available, and the virginia bill starts to nibble around the edges of that without
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dealing with the and local governments cannot single out housing, but any step in the direction is a good step forward. host: the housing department is also proposing the -- the administration is proposing that hud be allowed to incentivize states and localities to change their zoning to get rid of single-family housing zoning in states across the country. how prevalent -- how much is that happening across the country? guest: this is just a proposal at this point the federal stage. oregon and california have taken some steps forward, making it easy to do things like build an accessory dwelling unit, a flat on a single-family property. oregon has legalized building duplexes and much of the state.
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those are very small steps, but an indication that we are recognizing that a land-use properties that does not allow homes to be built, it does not work for the population. the lack of lower-cost rental properties all goes back to the supply. as long as we have local rules that make it impossible to build apartments, and you have too many people competing over too few housing units, and the rents will continue to go up. host: david from edmond, oklahoma. good morning. caller: good morning. i would like to start by quoting sir walter scott -- "many a shaft at random spent fines archer." these programs have unintended
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consequences. a four week consider the enhanced unemployment benefits -- if we consider the enhanced unemployment benefits coupled with the monthly distribution of childcare credit and eviction moratorium, we have placed millions of americans in a position where they cannot afford to go back to work. it would be an economically and financially unsound decision for them to take a job. we are seeing that in the job market where there are significantly more available jobs than there are people who can afford to accept them. host: thanks, david. jenny schuetz, any thought on that? guest: we are seeing an awful lot of complicated trends in the economy, both in the labor market and the housing market. and we know in the job market
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they are working from home, so some of the jobs, coffee shops, laundry method depend on office workers have not reopened and the downtowns of a lot of cities are still much less active than they used to in jobs have not come back there. we also know that schools have not reopened. we are in the summer, waiting to see what schools do in the fall, so parents of young kids have to make a decision about whether they can go back to work before they have stable childcare and school set up. there are a lot of reasons why people are not back in the workforce decides the fact that some people might you getting unemployment insurance. i would say one of the conditions of most of the rental assistance programs is that people are not receiving other health, so this is intended to help out people that have not been able to get cash assistance from the federal government and need some other form of support. host: our guest has a phd. her phd from harvard. she is a former crystal economist with the federal reserve board of governors. a question from patricia again
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oregon -- -- from oregon. she says i thought i was a more realistic being swamped, pressing misplacing renters at the prerogative. guest: it is a tough question to answer because in part rental properties investors by are often not the same wanton competition for owner occupants pick they might be looking for different neighborhoods, different structures. we are concerned that some of the more affordable rental properties may either go to an owner occupant, which takes it out of the rental supply, or maybe blocked by an investor who decides to do a rehab, and after that they are likely to raise the rent. this is a real concern that some of the rental properties may exit the affordable rental stock and we are just not replacing those stock properties when they go out. host: a comment from david in
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new york and in landlord on the line from new york. first david says here in new york if you take money for back rent, you are not allowed to evict the tenant for one year -- what good does that do when you are just prolonging this? david, new york, presumably a landlord. jan, dover plains, new york, you are on the landlords line what is your experience? good morning. caller: thank you. good morning. thank you for taking my call. i am in small, five-apartment house, converted from a victorian, and i have a person, i cannot call them a renter, but he moved into years ago -- -- in two years ago, he was there to take care of the tenant's dog because she was busy taking care
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of her mother in westchester county, and i have not seen her since last summer. she did pay in may of 2020, but not a penny since then, and he is still here, and we are trying to get into leave, but he won't leave. host: what actions have you taken? is this a matter you have brought to housing officials or the police? caller: we have tried a lot of different ways to go about it, but because of moratorium, he has been able to fly through. he sneaks in and out of the house. he takes electricity from a socket in the hallway, and he has just avoided us all together. host: sorry to hear that. it sounds like a fairly untenable situation. jenny schuetz, any thoughts on that? guest: we are running up into
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the problem that some landlords do not want to keep the tenant in the property anymore. they are frustrated, as this caller was, they have not been receiving rent. in some cases these are tenants who might be disturbing other people in the building, and the landlord to are at the end of their patients and just want the tenant out. the programs that require the landlord to say they want evict the tenant for some time have been a problem for getting money out the door because the rental assistance won't go out unless there is landlord cooperation. in some cases, we need to accept is the current situation will not last, provide the renter with security deposits, first month's rent, to move into a new place and let people sort things out into new places to live. we will not salvage all these relationships and hold up rental assistance money to get perfect cooperation sometimes is just not going to happen. host: we go to the renters line next and hear from maia and pendergrass, florida. caller: thanks for having me on.
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i just wanted to say that my situation is kind of different. during the pandemic i did lose my job, but me and my husband were still able to pay rent, and at the same time, paying rent, money started getting low. expenses started getting higher by everyone being home, and there were things where utilities cannot get cut off. my utilities were cut off during the pandemic. i applied for assistance, they had me fill out paperwork. everything they asked, no help. host: you apply to state officials, the federal government? how did you apply? caller: i feel that an application, they said they would reach back out to you, but
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i never heard from -- anything, and that was six months after the pandemic started. we were behind on our rent three months, and we were evicted during the pandemic, when the state had in place you cannot be evicted. we are in hotels now. all the programs the government claims they have available they really don't have available because to apply you cannot get any assistance. now me and my family are going from hotel to hotel because we cannot get any assistance. host: any suggestions for her? guest: this is not an uncommon story that people apply for assistance, or takes a long time to apply and they don't hear back. although it was intended to cover most tenants for the past year, it gets administered through the court system, and some judges have interpreted it
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differently, have chosen to allow emissions to move forward. the problem is that now if you have been evicted from your current place, you also will not be eligible for rental assistance because they are trying to get it to landlords. it would be great for more of these programs to think about forward-looking -- provide people who lost their homes with first month's rent, take about people. there is an argument that extends in the state. so that it does not harm their chances of moving into a new apartment. host: the associated press reporting california is spending billions. how important is the callers --
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prevalent is the situation -- do we have numbers on those that have been displaced? guest: we really don't pin the census bureau has been doing numbers on what people are living, and we have a sense that a lot of people that are vulnerable have had to move. they may not have gone through a formal eviction. they may have told lender they cannot pay it out, and we won't know probably for quite a while how many people have been displaced, because not all of that will show up in the eviction records. guest: let's hear from kathy -- host: let's hear from kathy in delaware. caller: i will speak to the situation in delaware -- is 1%
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the fault of kearney and kunz not informing the public that there are funds available to them. they could do a public service announcement. the only way you can find out about the agency for assistance is if you physically go to court, or via zoom. some people do not have the ability to go online. they realize they don't have the ability to go to court at that time. they may find out from the judge there is money available. when the court papers are filed, there could be an announcement in that packet that says there is an agency available to the public. it is 100% their fault, and the landlords are being held hostage , and what i have sent to them -- i have been fighting this for a year and a half, of course,
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and the landlords are saying i don't want to deal with this anymore. i just sell -- they are selling my crazing. that reduces the availability of rentals. the democrats in delaware are shooting themselves in the foot because the poor people and you just assistance are not given the opportunity to know about it. and when you do go to this online agency, it is not interactive. you don't get to talk to a human being. it is so oppressive as to how they are holding onto this money. it is unconscionable. guest: -- host: thanks for sharing your experience. jenny schuetz. guest: that is a good sense of what is happening a lot of places. word has gone out that it is available.
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i will say that philadelphia is one of the places that has tried better to integrate places they go to eviction court and leonard assistance. when landlords apply for eviction they are also required to apply for rental assistance on behalf of the tenant. it is a way to capture people generally at the end of the process. it is not ideal. you cannot go through without finding out there is money available. there is potential mediation. local governments have until october 3. they should to go about integrating this, doing all court press to get information out to landlords and tenants and encourage them to have a conversation before this comes to court. host: a comment on twitter about rental assistance.
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this went has a big problem with housing assistance during covid leading to housing assistance in foreclosures is that payback once it ends. landlords all want months to be paid immediately in a huge lump sum -- almost impossible for people already struggling to be able to do. guest: four landlords, that is true. the eviction moratorium assumes all rent is due. that is not true for federally backed mortgages. they were able to defer payments for up to a year. then the intent was the unpaid balance would get rolled into the remaining balance of the loan and be paid back like regular mortgage. the payment will increase, but there should not be a balloon payment. that does not apply to mortgages outside of the federal system. most should be able to roll this into the balance of the mortgage.
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host: one more call, but a previous, to the delaware color -- the application would be a challenge for an attorney to complain. only landlord can answer. next up, laverne, tennessee, on the renters line. caller: good morning. host: go ahead. caller: an an i was -- i was an ex-president in new york city could i flew to tennessee on saturday because i was having such a hard, difficult time. i had been in new york for two years trying to find an apartment. i was also a home health aide, essential health care worker, so i worked a majority of the pandemic. the hard thing about this is new york has no rent control. what that means is landlords can charge whatever they want. for me, my experience, i did not have any good credit.
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at the time, my credit score was lucky 490. even when i tried to get a cosigner, i still got denied, and i am a black woman. this is something that happens a lot to us, and i feel like it is an agenda to make credit scores and rent requirements so high to wear black people cannot afford the rent. host: ok. we will let you go. the role of credit rating. we have not talked about that yet this morning. guest: that is going to be an issue -- in markets that are tight where landlords have multiple applicants for an apartment, they can be picky. they can chew somebody that has better income, better credit scores, who may be willing to pay a couple of months upfront. that is clearly a problem in places like new york where there are two new people competing for too few apartment. we are concerned that people coming out of the pandemic with lower credit ratings because
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they were not to make payments, that will make it much more difficult to rent an apartment going forward. you have to figure out some way people will be able to get a new place to live to potentially have some amnesty. host: jenny schuetz is with the brookings institute. seni >> coming up live, we will show you a conversation on health care workforce development being hosted by u.s. news & world report, you can watch it live starting at 1:00 p.m. eastern. resident biden will sign an executive order setting a new target to make half of all new vehicles sold in 20 30 zero emissions including electrics and hybrids. from the south lawn of the white house that is set for 3:00 p.m. eastern. you can watch that online or listen with the free c-span radio app. we will have it live here.


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