- HUD is urging Congress to pass the American Rescue Plan to provide further aid to the housing market.
- The $1.9 trillion stimulus has measures for emergency rental assistance and homeless relief, among others.
- A HUD official says further extending eviction and foreclosure bans isn’t in the bill, but is on Biden’s radar.
- Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.
As passage of President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus approaches, the federal agency that is focused on housing is urging Congress to pass its measures for struggling homeowners.
The US Dept. of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD, expressed support on Thursday for the package’s funding for emergency rental assistance and homelessness prevention, among other things.
As one of his first executive orders, Biden extended the moratorium on evictions to help struggling renters, and more recently, he extended the moratorium on home foreclosures to provide homeowner relief.
According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, one in five renters is behind on rent, and over 10 million Americans have fallen behind on mortgage payments since COVID-19 began.
While the expansion of foreclosure and forbearance programs were necessary for homeowners and renters, a fact sheet from HUD provided to Insider said, the housing provisions in Biden’s American Rescue Plan need to be passed to provide further financial aid.
“To bolster these efforts, it is critical that Congress pass the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 to deliver more aid to people struggling to pay their rent or mortgage,” the fact sheet said. “The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 includes a number of provisions to provide immediate and direct relief to help people across America remain stably housed during the pandemic.”
The stimulus may be necessary relief as eviction moratoriums are increasingly being challenged in court. On Thursday, a Texas judge blocked the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s eviction moratorium, saying in a statement that the federal government “cannot say that it has ever before invoked its power over interstate commerce to impose a residential eviction moratorium.”
With regards to a further extension on the moratorium on evictions and foreclosures, a HUD administration official said in a press call on Thursday that an extension is not included in the bill itself, but that further extensions are still under consideration and would be driven by public health considerations. (This official did not comment on the ruling out of Texas.)
Per the HUD fact sheet, housing aid in Biden’s stimulus plan includes:
- More than $20 billion in emergency rental assistance;
- $5 billion for emergency housing vouchers for those experiencing homelessness;
- $100 million in emergency assistance for rural housing;
- $750 million in housing assistance for Native Americans and Native Hawaiians;
- $100 million for grants to housing counseling providers;
- $5 billion for homelessness assistance and supportive services programs;
- $10 billion for homeowners behind on mortgage payments and to avoid foreclosures and evictions;
- $39 million for very low-income borrowers to purchase and repair housing in rural areas;
- And $20 million for fair housing programs.
The $900 billion stimulus package that Congress passed in December included $25 billion for rental assistance, but a White House fact sheet says American families still owe $25 billion in back rent and require further aid.
“Failing to take additional action will lead to a wave of evictions and foreclosures in the coming months, overwhelming emergency shelter capacity and increasing the likelihood of COVID-19 infections,” the White House fact sheet said. “And Americans of color, who have on average a fraction of the wealth available to white families, face higher risks of eviction and housing loss without critical assistance.”
The House is expected to vote on the American Rescue Plan on Friday, and it will then go to the Senate, where it will likely receive zero Republican votes.
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