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NLIHC Participates in House Financial Services Committee Roundtable on Impact of COVID-19 on Housing and Homelessness

NLIHC President and CEO Diane Yentel participated on May 22 in a virtual roundtable hosted by the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Housing, Community Development, and Insurance on the “Reviewing the Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on U.S. Housing Markets.”

In his opening remarks, Chairman Wm. Lacy Clay (D-MO) spoke about the devastating impacts on the pandemic on America’s renters and homeowners. “We need to be sure that our response to this crisis includes lessons learned from the 2008 financial crisis,” which disproportionally harmed people of color. Ranking Member Steve Stivers (R-OH) agreed that members of Congress need to work together to enact solutions to help people pay their rent or mortgage. Full committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters warned that if Congress fails to act, America will see a wave of evictions and foreclosures that will make it difficult for our economy to recover.

Diane testified about the consequences of inaction and the solutions to this crisis. “The very least the federal government should do during a global pandemic – as both a moral and public health imperative – is assure each of us that we will not lose our homes. Increased evictions and homelessness have enormous individual and public health consequences; overcrowding to save on rent makes social distancing impossible, and our nation’s homeless service system is already strained with efforts to decongest shelters and encampments. In the long-term, evictions create a spiraling into poverty that is hard to reverse, with myriad costs to families, communities, and the country.”

Diane called on members of Congress to enact the housing investments and protections included in the “Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act,” recently passed by the House of Representatives, that includes at least $100 billion in emergency rental assistance through the “Emergency Rental Assistance and Rental Market Stabilization Act;” a national, uniform moratorium on evictions and foreclosures for all renters and homeowners; and additional resources to prevent and respond to outbreaks among people experiencing homelessness.

Watch a recording of the full hearing at: https://tinyurl.com/yd6hcew2

Read Diane’s opening statement at: https://tinyurl.com/yalbdjz4

Read NLIHC’s list of policy recommendations at: https://nlihc.org/responding-coronavirus

Read NLIHC’s analysis of the HEROES Act at: https://tinyurl.com/y8jgv2vl

Learn more about the “Emergency Rental Assistance and Rental Market Stabilization Act” at https://tinyurl.com/ybgx5v7q