(AP) — The Department of Housing and Urban Development is doubling the size of its eviction protection program, designed to fund legal assistance for tenants seeking to stay in their homes.
HUD launched the Eviction Protection Grant Program last November, with an original $20 million awarded to 10 legal service providers.
HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge described the new funding as a doubling down on a proven method of easing the financial damage wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We need to keep doing all that we can to help people maintain quality housing,” Fudge said in a statement. “We know that access to legal services and eviction diversion programs works. It helps people avoid evictions and protects tenants’ rights.”
The funding can also be used to help landlords access emergency rental assistance and will generally help reduce caseloads in eviction courts around the country, Fudge said.
And the grant program is expected to particularly help people of color — they are disproportionately represented among those evicted — as well as tenants with limited English proficiency and people with disabilities, the department said.