Washington, DC – Three weeks after releasing the “HEALS Act,” Senate Republicans unveiled today a revised coronavirus relief proposal that is even more unacceptable and inadequate than the first one. The already woefully inadequate $3.3 billion in housing resources that were included in the HEALS Act are not included in this bill. The so-called “skinny bill” would do almost nothing to ward off the impending tsunami of evictions and increase in homelessness; it contains no meaningful resources or protections for the estimated 30 million to 40 million people at risk of losing their homes in the middle of a pandemic.
Senate Republicans need to stop playing political games, do their jobs, and immediately negotiate on a relief bill that includes the essential housing protections and provisions that passed the House over three months ago in the "HEROES Act". Every day of brinkmanship and inaction puts more low-income renters at immediate risk of losing their homes.
Evicting millions of families during a pandemic is senseless and cruel. Evictions risk lives, further burden overstretched hospital systems, and make it much more difficult to contain and eradicate the virus. Ensuring that everyone is stably housed during and after the coronavirus pandemic is not only a moral imperative – it is a public health necessity.
Congress can prevent evictions and homelessness, but we are running out of time. Congress and the White House must negotiate a comprehensive relief package that includes NLIHC’s top priorities: a uniform, national moratorium on all evictions for nonpayment of rent for the duration of the public health emergency; at least $100 billion in emergency rental assistance through the “Emergency Rental Assistance and Rental Market Stabilization Act” and housing vouchers, and $11.5 billion to homeless shelter and service providers to respond to and prevent coronavirus outbreaks among people experiencing homelessness.