In our most recent (March 7) national call for the “HoUSed: Universal, Stable, and Affordable Housing” campaign, we provided the latest updates on appropriations and budget reconciliation from Capitol Hill; shared findings from a recent report on how families changed their spending strategies to afford rent during the pandemic; learned about a new analysis by the ERASE project; received updates from the field; and more.
NLIHC’s Senior Vice President of Policy Sarah Saadian provided updates on the fiscal year (FY) 2022 appropriations process. After many months of negotiations, Congress was expected to introduce the much-anticipated final FY2022 spending bill as soon as March 7. (Congress ended up passing the bill on March 10, and President Biden signed the bill into law on March 11. See NLIHC’s analysis of the FY22 spending plan). Meanwhile, the budget reconciliation package formerly known as “Build Back Better” has been largely relegated to the backburner, giving congressional democrats more time to reach an agreement on a bill that will garner enough votes to pass the Senate with a simple majority of 51 votes.
Sophia Wedeen and Whitney Airgood-Obrychi from Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies joined the call to discuss findings from their recent report on how families changed their spending strategies to afford rent during the COVID-19 pandemic. Their findings indicated that renter households that lost income during the pandemic were three times more likely to fall behind on rent in the last two years than households that did not lose income. Those that did lose income were significantly more likely to rely on other sources, like credit cards or loans, savings, stimulus payments, borrowing money, or selling assets in order to afford rent. Low-income households and households of color were also more likely to experience a loss of income and financial hardship during the pandemic.
NLIHC’s Sophie Siebach-Glover provided updates on the latest emergency rental assistance (ERA) spending data. As of December 2021, grantees have spent or obligated roughly 70% of ERA1 funds and 27% of ERA funds. Nearly two-thirds of households served by ERA had extremely low incomes, and ERA managed to reach a high proportion of households of color. Low-income households and households of color have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. Field updates were provided by Phyllis Chamberlain from the Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania, Jeannette Ruffins from Homeward NYC, Bridget Brown and Bach Pham from South Carolina Appleseed, and Fer-Rell-Maurice Malone, Jr., from FRESH Communities.
NLIHC hosts national calls every week. Our next call will be held today, March 14, at 2:30 pm ET.
Register for the call at: www.tinyurl.com/ru73qan
Watch a recording of the March 7 call at: https://tinyurl.com/2pkbzpxn
View presentation slides from the March 7 call at: https://tinyurl.com/vum7ry56