Chris Arnold

Jennifer Folden-Nissen's three-bedroom, Victorian-style house in Duluth, Ga., isn't for sale. But that hasn't stopped a guy calling himself Henry from phoning her at least once a week. She says the pitch is always the same: "I want to buy your house. I'm willing to pay cash. Today."

She says it's sort of like having to deal with an insistent car salesman. "I just let him leave voicemails," she says. But even those are pushy. "Call me back, call me back, call me back, call me right now — I'm out front of your house."

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MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

When a U.S. Supreme Court decision struck down a federal eviction moratorium many experts and housing advocates feared a tsunami of evictions would quickly follow. That isn't quite happening, but eviction filings are rising sharply in many parts of the country.

So a race is underway to get rental assistance money from Congress to people who fell behind on rent during the pandemic before landlords evict them from their homes. And the race is getting more intense. After a very slow start, the money from Congress is finally reaching more people.

It used to be people complained about housing being too expensive in New York, San Francisco, or Washington, D.C. The problem is now way bigger than that.

"Unless you're making a lot of money right now you can't afford a house in this country," Senator Jon Tester said at a recent hearing. He represents the state of Montana where now home prices and rents have been rising dramatically too.

"We've got businesses that can't expand because there's no workforce housing," Tester continued. "There's no housing for people who make regular wages ok?"

The real estate company Zillow announced it's throwing in the towel on a program in which it bought, renovated and resold homes itself.

The iBuying, or instant buying, service called Zillow Offers had recently been bogged down by a backlog of renovations and closings caused by labor and supply shortages in the U.S. housing market.

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

NOEL KING, HOST:

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."

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.

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

LEILA FADEL, HOST:

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.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday agreed to partially lift a ban on evictions for renters in New York state, which was scheduled to expire at the end of the month.

In an unsigned order, with three dissents, the ruling justices agreed to pause parts of the eviction ban while a challenge works its way through the lower courts.

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.

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

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

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.

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

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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?

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.

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.

Naomi Osaka is walking away from the French Open after a standoff with the sport's top officials over her refusal to attend news events with reporters.

"Hey everyone, this isn't a situation I ever imagined or intended," Osaka wrote in an Instagram post. "I think now the best thing for the tournament, the other players and my well-being is that I withdraw so that everyone can get back to focusing on the tennis going on in Paris."

As the country emerges from the worst pandemic in a century, NPR wants to know how life has changed for you. Has the pandemic affected your employment situation, your ability to pay your rent or mortgage, your other household finances, your business, if you have one, and your ability to juggle work and child care.

A shortage of homes for sale is sparking multiple offers and bidding wars, driving the median sales price of a home in the U.S. to an all-time high of $341,600.

Home prices are up 19.1 % from just a year ago, also a record for the biggest gain in a year.

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."

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."

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