Stimulus Package Includes $25B For Rent Aid

The new $900 billion stimulus package agreed to by Congressional leaders includes additional housing relief, but an advocate is warning that more assistance may be needed after the new year.

The deal, which is before the House, incudes $25 billion in rental assistance for families struggling to make monthly payments. It also extends the ban on evictions through the end of January.

David M. Dworkin, president and CEO of the National Housing Conference, applauded the deal while cautioning that much work remains ahead.

“Help is on the way for millions of renters and small business property owners who for months have faced an impending housing crisis,” Dworkin said. “The $25 billion for rental assistance announced by Congress … is a practical start for staving off the immediate threat of mass evictions across the country. More will be needed to prevent housing insecurity for millions of low- and moderate-income households who are managing the economic fallout of the pandemic.”

A recent report by Redfin found renters are more likely to have lost their job or wages during the Covid-19 pandemic than homeowners. The report, based on a survey of more than 3,000 U.S. residents in October, found that 39 percent of renters reported losing a job or wages, compared to 30 percent of homeowners.

That has contributed to roughly 20 percent of renters who are not caught up on payments, as of earlier this month.

“The House will move swiftly to pass this legislation immediately, so it can quickly be sent to the Senate and then to the President’s desk for his signature,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said.  “With the horrifying acceleration of daily infections and deaths, there is no time to waste.”

Dworkin called for the money to get out the door as soon as possible after the legislation is passed.

“Rapid deployment of the funds is the most important next step,” he said. “Distributing them directly to the states through the U.S. Treasury will be the most efficient way to get the money quickly into the hands of those waiting for assistance. It is essential that Treasury fast-track regulations to guide distribution procedures, so that tenants and their landlords get the help they need now.”