Washington, DC - Today, Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Representatives Maxine Waters (D-CA) and Denny Heck (D-WA), along with 25 original cosponsors in the Senate and more than 130 in the House, introduced “The Emergency Rental Assistance and Rental Market Stabilization Act,” critical legislation that would provide $100 billion in emergency rental assistance for people who are homeless or on the brink. On a day when the country’s unemployment rate reached levels not seen since the Great Depression, the need for the federal government to ensure the housing stability of our country’s lowest-income people could not be more obvious or more urgent.
The National Low Income Housing Coalition previously estimated a need for no less than $100 billion in emergency rental assistance and broke down the need and cost for each state. Today, NLIHC released a new research note again showing that Congress must provide no less than $100 billion to ensure housing stability for the lowest-income renters during and after the pandemic. This new analysis focused on the rental assistance needs generated by the staggering job losses of March and April and projected into the future to determine the emergency rental assistance needed to help nearly 13 million low-income households remain stably housed.
Emergency rental assistance is critically needed to help keep people stably housed during and after this pandemic. Even before coronavirus, 11 million households – including 8 million of America’s lowest-income seniors, people with disabilities, families with children, and other individuals – were already paying half of their incomes or more on rent. They were one financial shock from eviction and homelessness, and for many of them, this pandemic is that financial shock. Without a major federal intervention, we will see a rash of evictions and a spike in homelessness in the coming months as eviction moratoriums are lifted and back rent is owed but cannot be paid.
The urgent health and housing needs of people experiencing homelessness and millions of America’s lowest-income renters cannot wait. Inaction is expensive, and addressing the long-term housing needs of millions of people experiencing homelessness or on the brink of homelessness during a pandemic is a public health necessity. Congress must include the “Emergency Rental Assistance and Rental Market Stabilization Act” in the next coronavirus spending bill to safely and stably house the lowest-income people during and after this pandemic. Now more than ever, housing is health care.
About NLIHC: Established in 1974 by Cushing N. Dolbeare, the National Low Income Housing Coalition is dedicated solely to achieving socially just public policy that ensures people with the lowest income in the United States have affordable and decent homes.