- Congress reached a deal on another round of coronavirus relief and stimulus, and it offers some assistance to renters who have been affected by the pandemic.
- The national eviction moratorium has been extended through January 31, 2021 to help renters stay in their homes during the pandemic.
- The bill also makes $25 billion available in total for rental assistance. The funds will be distributed to states to help residents with housing expenses, including past and future rent and utility bills.
- States will be in charge of distributing these funds, and will prioritize low-income families and those who have been unemployed longer than 90 days.
- Anyone in need of assistance should start by contacting their state or county for information on how to apply for assistance.
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Renters could get some much-needed relief from the new coronavirus stimulus deal, reached after weeks of negotiation in Congress.
The bill includes $25 billion for rental assistance. It also extends a federal eviction moratorium that's been in place since September through the end of January. The same bill will give $600 checks to many Americans, add to food-stamp assistance, and add an additional $300 per week to unemployment benefits through March 2021.
When does the federal eviction moratorium end?
The CDC's eviction moratorium has been extended one month, now lasting through January 31, 2021. It was previously set to expire on December 31, 2020.
The extension is meant to help people stay in their homes and slow the spread of COVID-19. While it does stop evictions based on nonpayment, it doesn't stop rent, current and future, from being due. According to estimates by the National Council of State Housing Agencies, the total rent overdue will fall between $25.2 billion and $34.3 billion by January 2021.
What rent relief does the COVID-19 stimulus package provide?
Renters could see some relief from the stimulus package, with an estimated $25 billion expected to be distributed between states, tribal communities, and US territories for rental relief.
According to an analysis by the National Low-Income Housing Coalition, states are expected to receive about $200 million each for rent relief. The package stipulates that 90% of this money must be used for financial assistance, such as helping families and individuals with past and future rent payments, utility bills, or other housing expenses.
Funds will be distributed by states, prioritizing people earning below 50% of an area's median income and those unemployed for 90 days or more. Only those who are earning less than 80% of an area's median income, experiencing financial hardship related to the pandemic, and are at risk of housing instability will be eligible for relief, the NLIHC says.
Anyone in need of rental assistance can apply through their state or local rental assistance program.
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