Representatives Garcia, Espaillat, 49 Members of Congress Ask to Include Emergency Rental Assistance in the Next Stimulus Package

April 10, 2020
Press Release

Chicago, IL - Representatives Jesús “Chuy” García (IL-04) and Adriano Espaillat (NY-13), along with 49 of their colleagues led a letter to House and Senate leadership today urging them to include $100 billion for emergency rental assistance in the next emergency stimulus package to help people stay in their homes. A comparable provision was included in the COVID-19 stimulus bill drafted by the House, but it did not make it into the final CARES Act. 

“Working class people, people of color, immigrants and renters suffer disproportionately during economic recessions like the one our country is already facing, and they need to know that they won't be kicked to the curb and left homeless if they can’t make their rent. No one should lose their home because of the coronavirus pandemic, and Congress must act now and include emergency rental assistance in the next stimulus package,” said Congressman Jesús “Chuy” García. “I am proud of the work we have done so far to keep people in their homes, but as unemployment climbs to historic highs and our most vulnerable constituents face unemployment and months of back-rent, we have to do more to ensure that families who are already suffering don’t face eviction and homelessess due to this crisis.”

“These are unprecedented times as millions of residents around the country face tremendous hardships amid the ongoing public health emergency and global crisis due to COVID-19,” said Congressman Adriano Espaillat (NY-13). “With business closures and economic challenges that individuals face due to job loss, many residents are having to make the difficult decision of feeding their families or paying their rent amid this crisis. Even with various restrictions on eviction in place, at some point renters will need to pay arrears despite having been out of work. This crisis on the horizon demands that we act now to protect individuals and families and ensure emergency funding for rental assistance is included in our continuing efforts to help our nation recover from this truly monumental moment in our history.”

Ten million people filed for unemployment in the last weeks of March-- an increase of  3,000% over filings at the beginning of the month. The National Low Income Housing Coalition estimates that $100 billion in rental assistance is necessary to avoid the devastation of affordable housing infrastructure in our communities as eviction moratoriums are lifted at the end of this crisis and back-rent is due.

This letter is endorsed by the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC), National Alliance to End Homelessness (NAEH).

A copy of the letter can be found below and here.

To Senate Majority Leader McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Schumer, House Speaker Pelosi, and House Minority Leader McCarthy:

The economic consequences of the COVID-19 public health crisis have only deepened in the short time since the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) was enacted. As Congress mobilizes for a badly-needed fourth relief package, we urge leadership to include $100 billion for emergency rental assistance funds to allow tenants to stay in their homes.

Congress must also alleviate the burden of rent as our constituents are furloughed, laid off, or working reduced hours. Though the CARES Act included an important temporary eviction moratorium measure to ensure that covered tenants, it delays the threat of evictions and foreclosures while doing nothing to resolve the issue of accrued rent that is still owed. We must act to help these families who must decide between putting food on the table or a roof over their heads.

Ten million people filed for unemployment in the last weeks of March-- an increase of  3,000% over filings at the beginning of the month. Too many are worried about their ability to keep their home when the immediate public health crisis is over. The National Low Income Housing Coalition estimates that $100 billion in rental assistance is necessary to avoid the devastation of affordable housing infrastructure in our communities as eviction moratoriums are lifted at the end of this crisis and back-rent is due.

We urge you to include $100 billion in critically needed funds for emergency rental assistance in the next COVID-19 relief package. Families across the country should not be forced to choose between foregoing food or medicine in order to pay rent.

Sincerely,

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