COVID-19 Policy

COVID Policy & Advocacy

Updated February 12, 2021

COVID Relief Bill Moving Quickly in Congress

On February 11, the House Financial Services Committee approved $75 billion in economic relief aimed at housing, small businesses and airline workers — $25 billion in emergency rental aid, $10 billion for small business financing and $15 billion to support airline workers. It's just one piece of the nearly $2 trillion coronavirus aid plan Democrats plan to pass in the coming weeks.

On February 5, the House Financial Services Committee released its COVID-19 relief bill with $25 billion in rental assistance funding, including $19.05 billion in emergency rental assistance, $5 billion for emergency housing vouchers, $750 million for tribal housing needs, and $100 million for rural housing. The bill also includes $5 billion for homelessness interventions and long-term supports, $9.96 billion for homeowner assistance, and $100 million for housing counseling. The House Education and Labor Committee’s relief bill includes an additional $4.5 billion for utility assistance. If enacted, these investments will help prevent millions of low-income people from losing their homes during the pandemic and will provide cities and states with the resources they need to help people experiencing homelessness be safely housed during and after the pandemic.

Biden Administration Extends Eviction and Foreclosure Moratoriums

On his first day in office, President Biden signed an executive order directing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to extend the federal eviction moratorium. It also directed federal agencies to extend their COVID-related evictions and foreclosure moratoriums. Federal agencies took these actions:

  • Centers for Disease Control extended the national moratorium on evictions until March 31.  
  • HUD and the USDA extended eviction and foreclosure moratoriums through March 31. 
  • FHFA extended foreclosure and REO eviction moratoriums until February 28. 

Treasury Launches $25 Billion Emergency Rental Assistance Program

The Department of the Treasury has officially introduced the $25 billion Emergency Rental Assistance Program that was created by the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021. Access the web portal and FAQs.

Of the total $25 billion Treasury will have access to, $23.875 billion will be dispersed to states and local governments. The minimum amount a state (including the District of Columbia) can receive is $200 million. Allocations to eligible local governments (those with populations of 200,000 or more) will come from that state’s share, capped at 45 percent of the total state allocation.

In order to be eligible for assistance, recipients must be renter households earning less than 80 percent of area median income who are either at risk of homelessness or housing instability or have qualified for unemployment insurance, experienced a reduction in income, incurred significant costs, or experienced hardship due to the pandemic. At least 90 percent of allotted funds must be used for the payment of rent and utilities and rent and utility arrears, and the remaining ten percent may be used for housing stability services, including case management, administrative costs, and other services to maintain housing stability.

Biden Proposes $1.9 Trillion Relief Package

On January 14, 2021 President-elected Biden released his $1.9 trillion legislative proposal for a comprehensive COVID-19 relief package. It includes provisions delivering direct aid to American families, businesses and communities, including essential resources and protections for America’s lowest-income renters and people experiencing homelessness.

 President-elect Biden calls for:

  • An increase in federal unemployment benefits from $300 per week to $400 per week, extended through September 2021
  • An increase from $600 to $2,000 per person stimulus payments
  • An extension of the federal eviction moratorium through September 2021
  • $30 billion in emergency rental and utility assistance
  • $5 billion to address the health and housing needs of people experiencing homelessness
  • $440 billion for aid to communities and businesses, including $350 billion in emergency funding to state, local and tribal governments
Packaged stimulus and federal omnibus bill passes

On December 27, 2020, President Trump signed a relief package that combines a roughly $900 billion stimulus deal as well as a $1.4 trillion FY 2021 omnibus spending bill. The general consensus among advocates is that the bill does what is needed for now. But more work will be necessary early in 2021 to keep communities afloat. The package includes a number of priorities for community development and affordable housing advocates. The package includes:
  • $600 stimulus checks for Americans making less than $75,000 per year.
  • An additional $300 per week in unemployment benefits through at least March 14, 2021
  • $284 billion for first and second forgivable Paycheck Protection Program loans, expanded PPP eligibility for nonprofit organizations and program modifications to serve small businesses, nonprofit organizations and independent restaurants. Some of the money will be reserved for very small businesses through CDFIs and other community lenders.
  • $25 billion in emergency rental assistance to be distributed through states and an extension of the CDC's eviction moratorium through January 31, 2021.
  • $25 billion in new New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) authority, $5 billion per year for five years.
  • Roughly flat funding for other community development and housing programs in FY21 such as HOME, CDBG, and various urban and rural rental assistance programs.
  • $12 billion for the CDFI program to support lending in low-income and underserved communities. $4 billion will be set aside for institutions with under $2 billion in assets, of which $2 billion must go to institutions with under $500 million in total assets.
  • $3 billion in emergency support for the CDFI program to provide technical assistance.
  • The bill sets a permanent minimum 4 percent rate for the Low Income Housing Tax Credit. A minimum 4 percent Housing Credit strengthens the feasibility of critical affordable housing developments and provides parity to the 9 percent rate. The 4 percent minimum rate has been a top priority of the national ACTION Coalition for a number of years.  
  • $41 million for the Section 4 Capacity Building program

House Passes HEROES Act — $3 Trillion Relief Package 

NACEDA strongly supports the $3 trillion Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act, which was passed by the House on May 15. The legislation includes almost $200 billion in additional funding for housing and homelessness programs to help communities respond to the coronavirus. It also includes nearly $1 trillion to state and local governments to avert layoffs and $200 billion in hazard pay for essential workers and $1,200 direct payments to individuals. The bill is facing significant opposition in the Senate.

These provisions will be of particular interest to the community development sector:

  • $100 billion in emergency rental assistance to keep low-income renters stably housed during and after the public health emergency
  • An additional $11.5 billion to prevent and respond to outbreaks among people experiencing homelessness
  • A national, uniform moratorium on evictions for all renters
  • $5 billion for Community Development Block Grants
  • Funding for more than 100,000 new emergency housing vouchers
  • $1 billion for the Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund
  • More than $300 million for rural rental assistance
  • $10 billion for COVID-19 emergency grants through the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program*
*The Economic Injury Disaster Loan grants would support small businesses and nonprofits by strengthening the Payroll Protection Program to ensure that it reaches under-served communities and nonprofits.
View a one-page summary, a section-by-section summary, and a resource on state and local relief provisions from the House Committee on Appropriations. This NLIHC budget chart compares the HEROES ACT and CARES Act.
 

CARES Act Stimulus Package

The initial $2.2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was signed into law on March 27, 2020. It included significant funding for the community development sector. 

NACEDA and our members advocated for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to provide adequate funds to underserved small businesses and nonprofits. View the NACEDA letter on PPP to Members of Congress.