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Politics & Money

HEROES vs HEALS Act and what they would mean for housing

Wide variance on the funding for rent and mortgage assistance

The HEROES Act, a bill introduced and passed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) in May, could be signed this week, offering homeowners and renters much-needed relief in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

On the other hand is the Health, Economic Assistance, Liability Protection and Schools Act, aka HEALS Act, proposed by Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on Monday, which offers significantly less help for homeowners and renters.

The HEROES Act contains $200 billion of additional funding to consumers, including assistance making mortgage and rent payments.

Meanwhile, the HEALS Act doesn’t include an extension of eviction moratoriums and offers $3.2 billion for housing, which includes $2.2 billion for tenant-based rental assistance and $1 billion for a public housing operating fund.

However, both acts offer another round of one-time $1,200 stimulus checks to individuals who qualify, which has drawn criticism for being too limited.

Unlike the HEROES Act, which proposes to keep the additional $600 in unemployment payments as the CARES Act did, the HEALS Act proposes to cut down that down to $200 extra a week.

A portion of the HEALS Act will funnel about $20 billion into the Federal Department of Agriculture; about $5 billion to “science,” which includes $1.75 billion going towards the construction of a Federal Bureau of Investigation headquarters in Washington, D.C.; $29.4 billion to defense and the armed forces; $105.1 billion to education, in an effort to get students back in classrooms; and no funding for Veterans Affairs.

Housing advocates have warned that if eviction moratoriums and unemployment payments are both cut, the U.S. could see waves of evictions and a large uptick in homeless populations.

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