Eviction Crisis Act

Impact

NOTE: THE EVICTION CRISIS ACT HAS NOT BEEN RE-INTRODUCED IN THE CURRENT CONGRESS. 

The Eviction Crisis Act (S. 3030, in the previous Congress) would establish a federal emergency housing assistance grant program which would provide aid to people experiencing housing insecurity in order to avert homelessness.  In his book Evicted, academic Matthew Desmond showed that timely interventions in which nominal sums of money are provided on a limited or one-time basis to lower-income households who are experiencing housing insecurity might save them from falling into homelessness—which imposes a far great cost on society as well as those households. 

Federal, state, local, and charitable dollars are used every day and in every state to fund emergency housing assistance grant programs of various sizes and with varying rules of eligibility.  Continuums of Care (CoCs) can use Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) money for Homelessness Prevention.  However, the small sums of ESG received by CoCs are usually used instead for shelter and rapid re-housing.  The fund that would be established by the Eviction Crisis Act would be dedicated exclusively to the provision of emergency housing assistance. 

S. 3030 would also review grant programs generally and identify techniques for ensuring that the limited resources in emergency housing assistance are used to help those housing-insecure folks who need it the most and are unlikely to have any other recourse.  

Since the introduction of S. 3030, more than $45 billion of emergency rental assistance has been authorized in two different COVID relief packages, the first time with bipartisan agreement, and this much-needed assistance is allowing many lower-income households to remain housed.  We now know how vital rental assistance is in the prevention of homelessness and how it can be effectively distributed.  Whether rental assistance is helpful and whether the federal government can distribute this rental assistance to households in need are questions that have been answered in the affirmative.  The nation needs a permanent rental assistance fund to help lower-income families from becoming homeless after the pandemic is gone.  

Summary

The Eviction Crisis Act (S. 3030, in the previous Congress) would establish a federal emergency housing assistance grant program which would provide aid to people experiencing housing insecurity in order to avert homelessness.  Discussions are underway to secure the bill’s re-introduction, capitalizing on the success of the intervening establishment of an emergency rental assistance to help low-income renters stay housed in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic.  

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