Senate confirms Ohio’s Marcia Fudge as HUD secretary

Governor extends evictions moratorium through at least January

Governor Roy Cooper announced Wednesday that he plans to extend North Carolina’s evictions moratorium on residential evictions for non-payment of rent through at least the end of January.

“This holiday season, too many families are struggling to pay rent as the pandemic surges,” said Governor Cooper. “As the first of the month approaches and rent becomes due, I wanted people to know that we plan to extend the moratorium on evictions.”

The announcement comes a day after the NC NAACP wrote to the governor requesting he step-in and provide emergency assistance to thousands of families facing economic distress as a result of the pandemic.

Here’s an excerpt from Rev. T. Anthony Spearman’s letter:

The details and language surrounding the governor’s moratorium will be forthcoming according to his press office and will be based on how or whether Congress extends the federal moratorium.

For more on the eviction crisis in North Carolina, read this piece by Policy Watch’s Joe Killian.

Housing advocates: New Trump administration rule will promote discrimination

The good people at the National Housing Law Project issued a sobering statement this afternoon about yet another effort by the Trump administration to weaken the nation’s civil rights laws.

Trump Administration Promotes Housing Discrimination with New HUD Rule

In yet another attack on the nation’s civil rights laws, the Trump administration has announced that it will publish a weakened fair housing rule tomorrow. The new disparate impact rule dismantles decades of U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) policy embodied in the 2013 rule and undermines the 2015 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Inclusive Communities, which affirmed the disparate impact doctrine under the Fair Housing Act.

“It is difficult to believe that our nation’s federal housing agency is promoting housing discrimination in the middle of a pandemic and related housing crisis,” said Shamus Roller, executive director of the National Housing Law Project. “While the rest of the country is demanding racial justice, the Administration attempts to eliminate one of the nation’s most important civil rights tools and writes the playbook on how to discriminate without getting caught.”

Practically speaking, the new HUD rule would sideline disparate impact as a usable legal tool to tackle systemic housing discrimination. This means that landlords, lenders, and other housing providers would be free to engage in activities that deprive people of color, domestic violence survivors, families with children, people with disabilities, and others of housing opportunities – so long as a discriminatory intent could not be shown.

“The core of the National Housing Law Project’s mission is to promote access to safe, decent, and affordable housing for those who are all too often denied such opportunities. HUD’s attack on disparate impact may make our mission harder, but we resolve to continue this fight,” continued Roller.

Civil rights and housing groups uniformly oppose the rule, which received more than 45,000 comments. The new regulation dismisses the majority of comments opposed, as it did with the new HUD rule that replaced the affirmatively furthering fair housing rule. NHLP and partnering organizations worked to oppose both rules through the #FightforHousingJustice campaign.

The publication of this rule continues the Trump Administration’s abysmal record on fair housing and civil rights. HUD just concluded public comment on the agency’s proposed anti-trans rule that would allow shelters funded with taxpayer dollars to turn away transgender and gender non-conforming people simply because of who they are. The proposed rule would eliminate the Equal Access Rule that ensures transgender people can access HUD-funded shelters that align with their gender iden

Stress, hunger and economic struggles spike for NC families during pandemic

Members of the Child Fatality Task Force took a deeper dive Monday into the impact of COVID-19 on North Carolina families.

What they learned was that since the pandemic struck, employment loss has been more prevalent in households with children and food insecurity a growing problem.

NC Child Policy Director Whitney Tucker

Fifteen percent of households with children surveyed in the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2020 Household Pulse Survey said they sometimes or often do not have enough food to eat.

Of those households, 71% report children are not eating enough because food is unaffordable.

Renters in households with children are also reporting more late payments since the pandemic hit. More than 231,000 North Carolina renters reported late payments and nearly 64,000 deferring their housing payments in June.

Another troubling sign according to NC Child Policy Director Whitney Tucker is the level of anxiety families are feeling.

“Thirty-one percent of adults in households with kids feel nervous, anxious or on-edge more than four days a week,” explained Tucker.”Fourteen percent said they could not stop or control their worrying. And nearly one in ten reported feeling down, depressed or hopeless nearly every day.”

Tucker said that level of toxic stress presents a clear threat.

“When families have difficulty accessing basic needs, it increases stress levels on care providers and that stress impacts child well-being.”

Experts worry that many children are also not getting wellness check-ups, as parents have either lost their health insurance through work of are afraid to take their children to see a doctor during the pandemic.

Ahead of the upcoming September legislative session, the Child Fatality Task Force approved a motion Monday for the legislature to launch and fund a two-year statewide firearm safe storage initiative.

Even before the added stress of the coronavirus, suicide was the leading cause of death for North Carolina youth ages 15 to 17 and the second leading cause of death for youth ages 10 to 14.

For more highlights from the meeting, click on the slides below:

Source: NC Child

Source: NC Child Fatality Task Force

Evicted or forced to move? You can still vote.

With hundreds of thousands of North Carolina residents on the verge of losing their homes because they can’t pay rent, we must make sure those caught in the middle of a national eviction crisis are not disenfranchised this November.

Losing your home does not mean you should lose your right to vote.

Educating those evicted or facing eviction about their voting rights is critical. North Carolina election officials should inform anyone who has been forced out of their homes of their options for voting in this year’s election.

Transitioned to temporary housing?

In most cases, if you are living in temporary housing, you can use your former address as your voter registration address if you intend to return to that home.

That means if you’ve temporarily moved in with a friend or family member, you can still vote with your old address, whether it’s by absentee or in person.

First, you should confirm your current registration on youcanvote.org/register. 

You have the right to update your registration to reflect your current address if you consider that place your new home.

The bottom line is that your legal voting residence is the place you consider your “permanent” home. Permanent can mean the place you’re staying for the foreseeable future or it can mean the place you intend to return to when your financial situation improves.

You can keep your old registration address even if you’ve moved to another county or state, as long as you plan on returning to the old address. If you don’t plan on returning or are staying in your new location for an indefinite period of time, then you should change your registration to your new location.

Facing homelessness?

Even being homeless should not be a barrier to making your voice heard on Election Day. If you’re homeless, you can still register to vote using the location where you usually spend the night, whether it’s on the streets or in a shelter. Voter registration paper forms provide a map where applicants can mark where they usually sleep. The law also allows you to list a mailing address that is different from the place you spend the night.

Keep in mind that once you do register in a new location, it will make you ineligible to vote at your old location.

Housing insecurity is a real concern during this pandemic and economic crisis. The Aspen Institute estimates that more than 700,000 North Carolina renters could face eviction by the end of September. Nationwide, 23 million people are at risk of eviction.

Know your voting rights

Knowing your rights is essential. This also means making sure you know the upcoming deadlines to register to vote or update your registration. In North Carolina, the deadline to register to vote is Friday, Oct. 9, whether you do it online or in-person. If you’re mailing in your registration, it must be postmarked by Oct. 9.

However, even if you miss that deadline, you can still register in person during the early voting period, which runs from Thursday, Oct. 15, to Saturday, Oct. 31. If you register using this “same-day registration” option, you’ll need to attest to your eligibility and provide proof of residence.

The other important date to keep in mind is that election officials must receive your request for an absentee ballot by Tuesday, Oct. 27. However, because of potential mail delivery delays, you should request a ballot as early as possible and mail it back as soon as you can, or drop it off at an official drop location.

Those who have been evicted or those facing eviction, can find more information about registering to vote and residency requirements at the North Carolina State Board of Elections or visit You Can Vote’s Accessible Voting Guide.

All eligible North Carolina voters have the right to make their voices heard in this year’s election, even if they don’t have a place to call home.

People who have lost their jobs and homes during this economic disaster are facing so many challenges — they should not have to worry about whether they can still vote in the Nov. 3 election.

Kate Fellman is the executive director and founder of You Can Vote.