Assistance Needed Now for Renters Across the Country
Without meaningful rental assistance legislation, the Center for Disease Control’s nationwide federal eviction moratorium is a recipe for disaster for renters and housing providers alike.
Renters will accrue back payments they will never be able to repay, and in turn housing providers will be unable to meet basic financial obligations, jeopardizing their ability to provide Americans with the housing they need.
Congress must prevent this housing crisis by providing direct rental assistance to households with financial hardships to ensure the stability of the housing market and the financial health of our communities.
Rental assistance is necessary to pull the country back from the brink of a housing and financial crisis.
On September 4, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) declared a “temporary halt to residential evictions to prevent the further spread of Covid-19.” This eviction moratorium applies to all residential housing. Further, it applies to all renters who self-certify they meet four criteria. The criteria are:
- Make less than $99,000 (single) or $198,000 (married); This is expected to cover more than 95% of all renters
- Have used their best efforts to obtain rental assistance;
- Are unable to pay full rent due to loss of household income, hours or wages, lay-offs, or extraordinary out of pocket medical expenses; note this does not have to be COVID-related AND
- If evicted, would likely become homeless or need to move in to a residence that is shared by other people in close quarters
Recently, the House of Representatives passed the HEROES Act which included substantial rental assistance, however the new eviction moratorium covers a much larger population of renters, around 95%, placing the vast majority of housing providers in jeopardy.
Congress must enact an emergency rental assistance program that addresses the challenges for housing providers and renters alike. The House-passed HEROES Act did include rental assistance, but not sufficient to cover the number of renters covered by the CDC notice. All renters who are eligible and attest to their need for the eviction moratorium must be covered. Payments should be made directly to housing providers who provide housing authorities with copies of their residents’ attestations.