COVID-19, HEROES 1.0 Stimulus Package: Rental Assistance Fund

U.S. Senate bill: S. 3685 — The Emergency Rental Assistance and Rental Market Stabilization Act

Committees:

The Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs

Status:

The bill has not been considered, but its real purpose is to show support for the inclusion of rental assistance funding in the next stimulus package.

Cosponsors:

43 (see all cosponsors)

U.S. House bill: H.R. 6820 — The Emergency Rental Assistance and Rental Market Stabilization Act

Committees:

The House Committee on Financial Services

Status:

The bill has not been considered, but its real purpose is to show support for the inclusion of rental assistance funding in the next stimulus package.

Cosponsors:

160 (see all cosponsors)

 

 

 

Impact

NOTE: This effort stalled out.  Please see COVID-19, New Stimulus Package.  The third stimulus package, the CARES Act, included new moratoria on evictions of renters.  A moratorium has been imposed on filings for evictions for renters in homes covered by federally-backed mortgages for 120 days after enactment.  Another moratorium in the law would prohibit evictions of most residents of federally-subsidized apartments.  Many states have also imposed their own moratoria, although some are expiring soon or have already expired.

However, many renters, who are already spending unsustainable amounts of their income on rent, will experience losses of income as a result of the economic downturn caused by the pandemic and likely incur significant arrearages during the moratoria—and would be in danger of eviction after the moratoria expire.  The expanded coverage of unemployment insurance included in the CARES Act, is also welcomed, but additional assistance is needed to help those who struggled to make ends meet before the pandemic and those who have been forced to work reduced hours—let alone those on fixed incomes.  https://nlihc.org/sites/default/files/Need-for-Rental-Assistance-During-the-COVID-19-and-Economic-Crisis.pdf

The Emergency Rental Assistance and Rental Market Stabilization Act (H.R. 6820/S. 3685) would establish a $100 billion rental assistance fund to help low income households stay housed and avoid homelessness.  The legislation will not be considered on its own.  Rather, it serves as a show of support for inclusion of an emergency rental assistance fund in the next stimulus package. 

And, indeed, the House-passed HEROES Act (H.R. 6800), the House’s proposal for the next stimulus package, includes H.R. 6820.  In order to make it more difficult for this provision to be dropped in the bargaining that would occur in a House-Senate conference over the next stimulus package, supporters of the Emergency Rental Assistance and Rental Market Stabilization Act are seeking additional cosponsors. 

However, H.R. 6800 has been strongly opposed by the Senate.  

Summary

Representatives and particularly Senators are urged to cosponsor the Emergency Rental Assistance and Rental Market Stabilization Act (H.R. 6820/S. 3685), which would establish a $100 billion fund to help low-income renters avoid homelessness because of the adverse economic consequences of the pandemic.  The legislation has already been included in the next House stimulus package, which is known as the HEROES Act (H.R. 6800)  However, that legislation is a long way from becoming law. 

Unfortunately, the eight different bills which are known collectively as The Health, Economic Assistance, Liability Protection and Schools (HEALS) Act, which is the Senate’s response to the HEROES Act, includes no funding for new housing vouchers.   The Alliance urges lawmakers to include the House’s provisions for homelessness funding, housing vouchers, and rental assistance in the final version of the next stimulus package. 

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