After weeks of negotiations, the House and Senate passed a nearly $500 billion coronavirus relief package on April 23. The package, which passed the Senate unanimously and the House on a 388-5 vote, has been dubbed “Phase 3.5” to indicate its interim status. Conversations continue on a larger fourth stimulus package intended to assist Americans as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. While the latest bill to pass Congress includes more than $360 billion in small business loans, a resource that may be helpful for some affordable housing providers, it does not include resources to address the urgent housing and health needs of people experiencing homelessness or low-income renters.
“Rent is due next week, and millions of the lowest-income renters can’t afford to pay,” said Diane Yentel, president and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition, in a statement released after the vote. “Some have short-term protection from federal, state and local eviction moratoriums, but the patchwork of policies protects only some renters and creates confusion for all. Congress must implement a uniform, national moratorium on evictions to assure each one of us that we will not lose our home in the midst of a pandemic. To prevent low-income renters from falling off a financial cliff when the moratoriums are lifted and to preserve our country’s affordable housing infrastructure, Congress must provide at least $100 billion in rental assistance.”
The next two weeks will be critical for advocates as we work to ensure that housing and homelessness resources are included in the next coronavirus relief package. House and Senate leaders are already debating the scope of the fourth coronavirus package. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is questioning the fundamental need for the bill, citing concerns about deficit spending, while Democratic leaders are compiling their priorities for the bill.
Please continue to contact your representatives and senators and urge them to support a broad array of resources and protections, including $11.5 billion to address the needs of people experiencing homelessness; $100 billion in emergency rental assistance; and a uniform national moratorium on evictions and foreclosures. For more information, see DHRC’s full list of recommendations.
Read the text of the Phase 3.5 bill at: https://bit.ly/2XZCtVH
Find a fact sheet regarding small business loans for nonprofits here: https://bit.ly/2xbrY6I
Read NLIHC’s statement on the vote here: https://bit.ly/2KCO3hj