U.S. Senate bill: S. 2182, introduced by Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO) — The Eviction Crisis Prevention Act
Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs
The bill was favorably discussed at a Banking Committee hearing.
The Eviction Crisis Act (S. 2182), introduced by Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Rob Portman (R-OH), provides an innovative approach to increasing housing stability by creating a new national $3 billion Emergency Assistance Fund (EAF).
Most families in poverty who rent spend at least half of their incomes on housing, leaving virtually no margin for an unexpected expense. Broken-down cars, unreimbursed medical bills, or temporary declines of income – as we saw on a massive scale during the COVID-19
pandemic – can quickly send vulnerable households down the spiral of housing instability, eviction, and even homelessness. The EAF is a permanent program – funded at $3 billion annually – to help stabilize households experiencing an economic shock before it causes instability and homelessness, which often require more prolonged, extensive, and expensive housing assistance.
Limited public resources, coupled with the growing costs of housing, has led to a crisis of evictions, homelessness and other types of housing instability, particularly for people with extremely low incomes. The COVID-19 economic recession and its resulting job and wage losses magnified and accelerated this existing crisis – at its peak in April 2020, the national unemployment rate hit 14.8%, with some industries reporting unemployment rates of almost 40%. More than 20 million renters lived in households that had experienced a COVID-19-related job loss, and Black, Latino, and Native renters were disproportionately impacted.
The pandemic has underscored the inextricable link between housing and health. Improving housing stability is not just about keeping people in their homes; it is also about providing them with the foundation they need for success in many other areas of life. Stable, affordable homes are linked with better educational and health outcomes across the lifespan. Stably housed families experience greater food security. Reducing homelessness reduces costs to the taxpayer, such as avoidable emergency department visits, jails, and shelters. People can more readily escape poverty, climb the income ladder, and achieve the American Dream. And our nation is more just and equitable when housing resources are targeted at populations most in need.
The bipartisan Eviction Crisis Act (S. 2182) would increase housing stability by creating a new national $3 billion Emergency Assistance Fund (EAF). If you support S. 2182, please urge your Senators to cosponsor the Eviction Crisis Act. The legislation also includes several provisions that promote housing stability but are not related to the EAF. It is expected that a House bill will soon be introduced which includes only the EAF.