American Rescue Plan Includes Over $40 Billion for Housing
Today the House approved the American Rescue Plan (see the final text and section-by-section summary), a $1.9 trillion package proposed by President Biden to provide additional COVID-19 relief. The legislation passed the Senate over the weekend, and now heads to President Biden’s desk for his signature. The American Rescue Plan provides $1,400 stimulus checks for individuals earning less than $80,000 per year, an extension of unemployment insurance at $300 per week through September 6, 2021, $350 billion in aid to state and local governments, $130 billion for schools, over $100 billion for health care, including COVID-19 testing and vaccine distribution, and expansions of the Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit.
The legislation also includes substantial new resources for housing, including:
- $21.55 billion for emergency rental assistance,
- $5 billion in emergency Housing Choice Vouchers,
- $5 billion in homelessness funding, including for tenant-based rental assistance, development, and supportive services,
- $800 million to provide homeless children and youth with wrap-around services in light of the challenges of COVID-19,
- $750 million for housing assistance and supportive services for Native Americans,
- $100 million for emergency assistance for rural housing,
- $100 million for housing counseling,
- $20 million for fair housing initiatives, and
- $9.96 billion for homeowner mortgage assistance.
These resources come at a critical time, as nearly half of all workers have lost income since the onset of the pandemic. According to the Census Bureau, renters, especially those with the lowest incomes, have been the most impacted, with nearly one in four very low-income renters behind on rent as of mid-February. Nearly 45 percent of renters say they are at least somewhat likely to be evicted in the next two months, without further assistance.
With Democrats having passed legislation addressing their first major priority of additional COVID-19 relief, discussions are now beginning in earnest regarding another major priority of infrastructure legislation. House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA) recently called for “a transformative expansion” of the Housing Credit as part of an infrastructure package, and the Biden Administration and Senate Democratic leadership have indicated support for expanding and strengthening the Housing Credit as well. The AHTCC is laying the groundwork to have Housing Credit priorities considered in any upcoming infrastructure legislation, including by working with our congressional allies towards reintroduction of the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act in the coming weeks.
Senate Approves Rep. Marcia Fudge to Lead HUD
Today the full Senate also approved the nomination for Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-OH) to serve as the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, with a final vote of 66 – 34. Her nomination was approved by the Senate Banking Committee in February. Rep. Fudge is a longstanding supporter of the Housing Credit, having several times co-sponsored Housing Credit legislation. Read more here.
The AHTCC congratulates and looks forward to working with Secretary Fudge to advance solutions to address our nation’s affordable housing crisis.