A $25 multi-billion residential rental assistance program launched on Jan. 5 by the Treasury Department will use funds from the year-end $900 billon coronavirus relief package signed into law by President Trump on Dec. 27. (Roundtable Weekly, Dec. 22)
- Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said, “The Emergency Rental Assistance Program will help to keep American families in their homes during this challenging time. Treasury is implementing this program with unparalleled speed so our state, local, and tribal partners across the country can provide assistance to families in need.” (Treasury news release, Jan. 7, 2021)
- States, U.S. Territories, tribal and local governments covering more than 200,000 people are now able to enroll in the ERAP through a web portal by providing payment information and accepting award terms. Households or landlords that qualify can apply through the enrolled programs that receive funding from Treasury.
- Qualifying households include at least one person who is eligible for unemployment insurance or suffered a coronavirus-related financial hardship; is at risk of homelessness or housing instablity; and has a household income at or below 80 percent of “the area median.”
- A federal rental assistance program—advocated by The Real Estate Roundtable since April 2020—comes as the National Multi-Housing Council reports that 76.6 % of apartment households paid rent as of January 6. (NMHC Rent Tracker)
- The Roundtable last year called for the establishment of a rental assistance fund for impacted residential and business tenants. Calling it the “rental obligation chain,” The Roundtable emphasized that rent payments support owner payrolls, utility, taxes and debt service and further benefit capital providers and local governments. (Bisnow, April 30, 2020 interview with Roundtable President and CEO Jeff DeBoer and Roundtable Weekly, Sept. 11, 2020 on MSLP testimony)
- The enacted year-end omnibus bill took a partial step by establishing a $25 billion fund only for impacted residential tenants, although The Roundtable continues to support a similar, if not greater, fund for small business tenants.
- The bill also extended the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) current federal eviction moratorium one month (through Jan 31, 2021).
The Hill reported that “housing experts, advocates and economists have called on the federal government to provide sufficient rental assistance to protect tens of millions of Americans from eviction when the CDC ban expires.” (Jan. 7, 2021 and Oct. 11, 2020)
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