The clock began ticking on July 25th. Renters living in federally-backed housing units or relying on public funding have started to receive their 30-day eviction notice letters, indicating an end to legislation meant to keep them housed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Prior to its conclusion, the federal eviction moratorium protected approximately 12 million renters in America (anywhere from one quarter to one third of the American rental market). Millions more people living in privately-owned housing who also found temporary protection from eviction moratoria under city or state law, are now being affected as those laws are lifted. Experts estimate 40-45% more Americans will experience homelessness this year as compared to 2019.
Housing and shelter providers across the country are seeing the initial waves of individuals and families forced out of their homes with little time and few resources to relocate to safe housing in their community. As the court system begins to reopen and process landlord eviction cases, the social care providers on the frontlines know these initial waves will soon be a tsunami.
Coordinated social care networks brace for impact
We continue to see a national trend across our data showing drastic spikes in clients seeking housing and shelter and utilities assistance. As reported in our last two data blog posts, housing and shelter referrals show the highest number of COVID mentions at in-take across our network, revealing a connection between the pandemic and the financial crisis many are experiencing. Additionally, housing and shelter and utilities remain our highest requested service types across the country.
More than just tracking referral numbers and types, the Unite Us Platform allows partners to track their case resolution numbers and outcomes–were the needs of my client, patient, member met, and what was the outcome? With our accurate and structured outcome data, networks can assess their capacity in real-time and prepare for what is just around the corner. So, how are our networks responding to the eviction crisis?
Local-level rapid response: The birth of an eviction coordination center
Louisville, Kentucky is the center of the United Community network, powered by Unite Us and sponsored by Metro United Way and Aetna/CVS. Since April of 2019, United Community has been connecting people to the services they need, and providing insights to the network on how to better serve the community. With this foundation in place and Unite Us’ community engagement team on the ground, Louisville was able to assess the immediate need for housing and shelter and use its CARES Act funding to directly address the housing needs of its community. In partnership with Louisville’s Southwest Community Ministries and the local 2-1-1, United Community established an Eviction Coordination Center, which connects individuals to rental assistance, utility assistance, and legal aid should concerns about eviction with a landlord arise.
Clare Wallace of Louisville’s Community Ministries has been fielding calls from panicked residents, “We know this can be really scary. They’re calling us panicking that they need to try and find some resources. The process can be frustrating and confusing. So, to have assistance through that [the Eviction Coordination Center] is really important.”
Within two weeks of standing up the Eviction Coordination Center, powered by Unite Us, assistance requests spiked to over 600. In just under 3 weeks, the network has been able to respond to over 40% of these requests.
Our commitment to close the gap
Our Data and Analytics team continues to enhance our insights capabilities and offerings. The team is building an evictions dashboard that will help track housing and shelter needs as eviction bans lift and more Americans face housing insecurity and homelessness, many for the first time in their lives. Our community engagement team on the ground will continue to engage and onboard community-based organizations (CBOs) offering housing and shelter services, to bolster network capacity and meet growing demand.
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