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As Negotiations Continue, House Democrats Pass Revised COVID-19 Relief Proposal

Negotiations over a coronavirus relief package restarted last week, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin reporting critical progress in these discussions. According to the press, Mnuchin’s $1.6 trillion counteroffer to Democrats included significant funds for rental and mortgage relief, expanded unemployment benefits, and an additional round of stimulus checks. While there are still significant differences to be addressed, the week-long negotiations are a positive step forward. NLIHC is closely monitoring developments and will keep NLIHC members and partners informed.

During the negotiations, the House passed a revised $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief package by a vote of 214-207 on October 1. Introduced by House Democrats on September 28, the revised COVID-19 relief package includes essential housing and homelessness resources, including NLIHC’s top priorities: emergency rental assistance; a national, uniform moratorium to prevent evictions; and resources to prevent and respond to outbreaks among people experiencing homelessness.

The overall relief package is intended to provide states and communities with critical resources for four months to February 2020, rather than the full 12-month period on which NLIHC’s priorities and estimates are based. As a result, funding for these priorities are scaled back in the revised proposal to about half of what was included in the House-passed HEROES Act, including $50 billion in emergency rental assistance and $5 billion to address the housing and health needs of people experiencing homelessness. The bill also provides more than $13 billion in additional funds to ensure housing stability through HUD and USDA. The shorter timeframe allows advocates and congressional champions another opportunity to push for the full amount of resources needed early next year.

Communities are struggling to meet the urgent needs of people experiencing homelessness who are at greater risk of severe illness, hospitalizations, and death due to coronavirus. NLIHC and other experts estimate that without federal intervention, 30 to 40 million renters are at risk of losing their homes when the federal eviction moratorium expires at the end of the year. In the meantime, small landlords who rely on rental income to maintain and operate their properties will increasingly struggle to pay their bills.

The time for political games and brinkmanship has long passed. Every day of inaction puts more low-income renters at risk of losing their homes.

The White House and Congress should continue to negotiate and enact a relief package that includes critical resources to keep renters stably housed and address the housing and health needs of people experiencing homelessness.

Read the text of the revised HEROES Act at: https://bit.ly/30mF9wW

Read a section-by-section summary of the revised relief package at: https://bit.ly/36rtwZc