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Statement from NLIHC on Bipartisan Agreement on Emergency Relief for Renters and Urgency of Bill Passage

WASHINGTON, DC – A bipartisan group of senators and representatives will soon release a compromise coronavirus relief package, including $25 billion in emergency rental assistance and a one-month extension of the federal eviction moratorium issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Congress must quickly enact this emergency legislation – and return in January to work on a broader, more comprehensive package – to help ensure America’s lowest-income seniors, people with disabilities, families with children, and others remain stably housed during this global health crisis.

“While extending the CDC eviction moratorium for one month is insufficient to keep people housed for the duration of the pandemic, the extension provides essential and immediate protection for millions of renters on the verge of losing their homes in January. Extending the moratorium through January provides time for emergency rental assistance to be distributed, and for President-elect Biden to improve and further extend the moratorium immediately after being sworn into office,” said Diane Yentel, NLIHC president and CEO. “Similarly, while $25 billion in emergency rental assistance is clearly not enough to meet the estimated $70 billion in accrued back rent or the ongoing need for rental assistance to keep families stably housed, these resources are essential and desperately needed. Targeting the funds to the lowest-income people will help ensure those most at risk of eviction are assisted first.  Congress should enact this compromise legislation immediately, then get back to work in January on comprehensive solutions.” 

Up to 30 million to 40 million renters could be at risk of losing their homes when the CDC eviction moratorium ends on December 31, during a deadly resurgence of the pandemic. Renters already owe between $34 billion and $70 billion of back rent and will soon face a financial cliff when the CDC moratorium expires. “The consequences of congressional inaction will be deadly and costly – for children and families, for communities, and for our country’s ability to contain the pandemic,” said Diane Yentel.

This bipartisan emergency relief framework is an important step towards a comprehensive set of solutions. It provides $25 billion in emergency rental assistance funds, prioritizing households most at risk of eviction in the coming months. The bill also provides a one-month extension of the CDC eviction moratorium to help keep renters in their homes while state and local governments work quickly to distribute aid to households in need.

“After enacting these vital resources and protections, it is critical that Congress return in January to continue working on a comprehensive relief package at the scale necessary to prevent a tsunami of evictions and to address the urgent health and housing needs of low-income renters and people experiencing homelessness,” said Diane Yentel. At least $100 billion in emergency rental assistance and housing vouchers is needed to keep renters stably housed during the pandemic. An additional $11.5 billion in grants to homeless shelter and service providers is needed to keep people experiencing homelessness healthy and safe, and to get them housed as quickly as possible.