Chris Arnold

Just before the pandemic, Nitin Bajaj and his wife, Nimisha Lotia, rented an apartment they own in Los Angeles to two young women.

"They were really nice to talk to," Lotia says.

But as soon as the pandemic hit, the new renters, both in their late 20s, stopped paying the rent. Lotia says the young women sent them an email saying that COVID-19 had created a financial hardship and that the city had just imposed an eviction ban — so the renters couldn't be evicted.

Akira Johnson lives in Columbia, S.C., with her three kids. She tries to make the place joyful for them with flowers and pillows that say things like "happy" and "sunshine."

She has decorated one wall with the logo of her small business: an eye with amazing eyelashes.

"I'm a licensed cosmetologist," Johnson says. "I specialize in eyelash extensions. It takes about two hours."

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

A race is underway to help people facing eviction. Congress has approved an historic $47 billion in emergency rental assistance. But the vast majority of that money hasn't reached the millions of people who desperately need it.

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Updated September 18, 2021 at 10:52 AM ET

The Biden administration is close to announcing the nomination of a key regulator with broad powers to change the $11 trillion mortgage market and reshape the American dream of homeownership, sources tell NPR.

The administration has narrowed down the candidates to run the Federal Housing Finance Agency, or FHFA, according to sources who are familiar with the matter but are not authorized to speak publicly.

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Updated August 26, 2021 at 10:29 PM ET

The U.S. Supreme Court has blocked the Biden administration's order extending the federal eviction moratorium to a large swath of the country, in a decision expected by both legal scholars and the White House.

With so many Americans losing their jobs during the pandemic, many people still haven't been able to catch up on missed rent payments. Meanwhile, rental assistance money from Congress isn't reaching millions of people who need it.

If you are worried about eviction and trying to apply for help to keep a roof over you or your family's heads, NPR wants to hear from you.

Are you facing eviction right now? Or is your landlord being flexible and working with you? And if you're a landlord, or a homeowner in trouble we'd like to hear from you, too.

Landlords across much of the country can now evict tenants who have fallen behind on their rent. That's because a federal ban on evictions expired over the weekend.

"It's devastating," said Safiya Kitwana, a single mom with two teenagers living in DeKalb County, Ga., who lost her job during the pandemic. Like 7 million other Americans, Kitwana has fallen behind on rent.

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Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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Millions of Americans have started investing during the pandemic. And while the market has started to get a bit wobbly lately, stocks are still near all-time highs. So now is actually a really good time for people new to the world of investing to figure out how to get their ducks in a row and their investments set up in a smart way for whatever the future may bring.

If you're an everyday investor trying to sift through Reddit threads and YouTube tutorials, this is for you. Here are a few common mistakes to avoid and some actionable tips to get you on your own investing path.

Back around the start of the year, Michael Thurmond had a problem. He's the top elected official in DeKalb County, Ga. Congress had approved about $50 billion to help people catch up and pay rent to avoid eviction.

But Thurmond worried that his county wouldn't get enough money to help everybody.

"What do I say to the family who is the first in line after all the money has run out?" he asks.

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Updated June 29, 2021 at 7:53 PM ET

The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to lift a ban on evictions for tenants who have failed to pay all or some rent during the coronavirus pandemic.

By a 5-4 vote, the court left in place the nationwide moratorium on evictions issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Alabama Association of Realtors had challenged the moratorium.

Are you getting calls or postcards from people who say they want to buy your house? If so, NPR is doing stories about this and we'd like to hear from you.

Don't worry, NPR does not want to buy your house! But we would like to hear about how many offers you are getting and where they're coming from. Have you talked to these people? Are they nice? Or pushy? Are you considering selling your house this way or is it just a minor nuisance?

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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Sen. Sherrod Brown wants answers from a corporate landlord after a report by an advocacy group found the firm has been filing for eviction much more often in predominantly Black neighborhoods during the pandemic.

"While evictions can have long-lasting, damaging effects on renters in normal times, they are especially troubling during a pandemic where safe, stable housing can literally mean the difference between life and death," Brown wrote in his letter to Don Mullen, a former Goldman Sachs partner and founder and CEO of Pretium Partners.

Mehran Mossaddad has spent much of the pandemic scared and lying awake at night. He's a single dad with an 10-year-old daughter living outside Atlanta.

"I get panic attacks not knowing what's in store for us," he says. "I have to take care of her."

Mossaddad drives Uber for a living, but when the pandemic hit, he stopped because he couldn't leave his daughter home alone. As a result, he has fallen more than $15,000 behind on his rent, and his landlord has filed an eviction case against him.

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MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Katrina Chism was frightened and confused. She'd been renting the same house in Atlanta for three years. She's a single mom with a teenage son. But then she lost her customer service job during the coronavirus pandemic and fell a month behind on her rent.

"I remember going to the door and the sheriff standing there," Chism says. "It scared me because I didn't know why he was at my house."

The reason: Her landlord had filed an eviction case against her.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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Buying a home is a big part of the American dream. But that dream feels harder than ever to achieve right now. There is a record shortage of homes for sale. And with so many people eager to buy, bidding wars are breaking out. That sent prices to record highs. The average home in America now sells for more than $340,000. So if you're still in the market to buy a home, how do you navigate this seemingly impossible market?

With me now is Chris Arnold, NPR correspondent and frequent Life Kit host. Hi, Chris.

CHRIS ARNOLD, BYLINE: Hey, Michel.

Rebecca Ametrano and Dan Johnson are newlyweds thinking about having kids. So they wanted to buy their own house or a condo. But since January they've been getting outbid by other buyers.

"You imagine your life in this house, you put in an offer and then two days later it doesn't get accepted," Ametrano says. "For me, it's like very emotionally crushing."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

A pioneering investor who ran Yale University's endowment, David Swensen, died this week at the age of 67 after a years-long battle with cancer. Swensen revolutionized the way many colleges invest, infusing some schools and nonprofits with vastly more resources to pay for things like financial aid for students and research.

Swensen was widely regarded by other investors as one of the greatest in the world. Case in point: He grew Yale's endowment from $1 billion in 1985 to $31 billion last year.

A federal judge has issued a sweeping ruling that would revoke a pandemic eviction moratorium put in place by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

But the Justice Department is appealing on behalf of the CDC.

The case was brought by the Alabama Association of Realtors, which argued that the CDC doesn't have the power to tell landlords they can't evict people during a pandemic. The judge agreed.

It was a pretty brutal holiday season for Barbara Gaught in Billings, Montana. Back in December, just a week before Christmas, she got an eviction notice.

"It was at like six thirty at night that a sheriff came and taped a notice on the door," she says. "On a Friday night."

The Texas state court system is signaling that it will no longer enforce a federal order aimed at stopping evictions during the coronavirus pandemic. That could clear the way for landlords to push ahead with tens of thousands of eviction cases that have been on hold.

The timing could be particularly painful for many families, coming after Congress has approved billions of dollars to help people pay the rent they owe to avoid eviction but before the vast majority of renters have been able to receive any of that money.

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