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Congressional Leaders Closer to a Deal on Rental Assistance and Other Coronavirus Relief

Congressional leaders are moving quickly to negotiate final details in a bipartisan COVID-19 relief package to provide critical aid, including $25 billion in emergency rental assistance and a possible eviction moratorium, for the next three months. A deal could be reached in the coming days.

A bipartisan group of senators released on December 2 the outline of a $908 billion relief plan that included $25 billion in emergency rental assistance, $160 billion in direct aid to state and local governments, and a $300 per-week extension of federal unemployment benefits, among other provisions. As currently outlined, the bill does not contain much-needed additional funding for homelessness services or providers of federally assisted housing, but negotiators are considering an extended eviction moratorium as part of the compromised deal.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) accepted the proposal as a new baseline for negotiations, although Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) dismissed the proposal as “unserious,” preferring instead his own “skinny” bill that contains no funding for rent relief or homelessness (see Memo, 8/24). Nevertheless, the bipartisan proposal has picked up steam among senators and may move with Congress’s appropriations package for fiscal year (FY) 2021 or a continuing resolution (CR). The current CR expires December 11 and is expected to be extended to December 18 to give Congress additional time to reach a deal. Once the CR expires, Congress must pass a final spending bill or another CR to keep the government funded.

NLIHC is urging advocates to contact their members of Congress today to demand the final compromise bill include robust housing and homelessness resources and protections, including:

  • At least $25 billion for three months of emergency rental assistance targeted to households most at risk of losing their homes this winter;
  • A broad, national eviction moratorium to keep renters in their homes when the federal moratorium issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention expires on December 31; and
  • The highest level of funding possible for housing vouchers and Emergency Solutions Grants to address the urgent health and housing needs of people experiencing homelessness.

While far more resources and measures are needed, this immediate relief package is vital to address the health and housing needs of the country’s lowest-income renters and people experiencing homelessness.

Contact your member of Congress: https://tinyurl.com/y4oqpkky