Help is on the way for millions of renters and small business property owners who for months have faced an impending housing crisis. The $25 billion for rental assistance announced by Congress today 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. Survey research we’ve seen indicate that an estimated six to 16 million Americans fear they may not have enough funds on hand to pay their next rent.
We applaud Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, and members of the 908 Coalition in the Senate and the Problem Solvers Caucus for their hard work in reaching an important mutual agreement for the benefit of the American people.
We hope that a continuing spirit of compromise will prevail as the new Congress addresses the persistent need for further rent relief measures in 2021. Compromise is the art of the possible, and while much more help will be needed, this bill is an essential first step, building back our ability to work together.
Rapid deployment of the funds is the most important next step. 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.
Dworkin served at the U.S. Treasury in the Obama and Trump administrations. NHC convenes and collaborates with a diverse membership and the broader housing and community development sectors to advance policy, research, and communications initiatives to effect positive change at the federal, state, and local levels.