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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.

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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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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.

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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.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

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.

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