In a letter addressed to congressional leaders, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Department of Treasury and the National Economic Council, a coalition of 31 housing organizations and industry trade associations urged the administration to immediately restart negotiating a compromise on stimulus regulation and rental assistance that “keeps people in their homes.”
The letter, sent on Friday, cited recent U.S. Census Bureau data that approximately 21% of renter households were behind on their rent payment. With the looming expiration of unemployment benefits enacted under the CARES Act, the coalition estimates the percentages of households who fall behind on their rent and face eviction will increase.
The Mortgage Bankers Association, National Housing Conference, National Association of REALTORS and the National Association of Home Builders were among the groups that issued the following statement:
“Renters impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic already owe an estimated $25 billion in back rent and could owe up to $70 billion by the end of the year. Without federal rental assistance, these debts will be unsustainable and financially ruinous for renter households across the nation. Failure to act will put tens of millions of renters at risk of being evicted, undermine the stability of our rental housing system, and needlessly prolong our nation’s ability to fully recover from the economic damage that has been wrought by this pandemic.
“We recognize that disagreements exist between the House, Senate and Administration on the details of a broader package, but the challenges we face as a nation are far too great not to work them out. We implore you to immediately return to the negotiating table and reach agreement on rental assistance and broader relief legislation that keeps people in their homes.”
In early May, 27 of the 31 members listed on Friday’s letter, signed a similar letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) in support of the $100 billion rental assistance proposed by the HEROES Act.
“Our message was clear: we are united behind the need for assistance that helps those in need and does so in the quickest, most effective manner possible,” the letter stated.
The coalition of housing organizations who signed the call to action included:
- California Housing Consortium
- CCIM Institute
- Consumer Federation of America
- Council of Large Public Housing Authorities
- Enterprise Community Partners
- Habitat for Humanity International
- Housing Assistance Council
- Institute of Real Estate Management
- LISC – Local Initiatives Support Corporation
- Low Income Investment Fund
- National Affordable Housing Management Association
- National Alliance to End Homelessness
- National Apartment Association
- National Association of Affordable Housing Lenders
- National Association of Housing Cooperatives
- National Association of Real Estate Brokers
- National Community Stabilization Trust
- National Council of State Housing Agencies
- National Housing Resource Center
- National Leased Housing Association
- National Low Income Housing Coalition
- National Multifamily Housing Council
- National NeighborWorks Association
- New York Housing Conference
- Stewards of Affordable Housing for the Future
- ULI Terwilliger Center for Housing
- Up for Growth Action.
In a series of releases at the beginning of August, the NHC, NLIHC and NAR responded to President Trump’s executive order that instructed HUD and the Treasury to provide assistance for renters and homeowners unable to meet their financial housing obligations. Because the order did not explicitly extend the eviction moratorium, the organizations greeted the order with disappointment – calling the act a temporary fix to a longstanding problem.
“There should be no higher priority than avoiding millions of evictions throughout the country. Without emergency rental assistance funding, we will face a catastrophic crisis,” said David M. Dworkin, president and CEO of the NHC.