By Dawn Bauman, CAE and C. Scott Canady on Jan 21, 2021
On January 20, 2021, President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris took their oaths of office. Within hours, the new president introduced an emergency legislative package and signed 17 executive actions, including the following related to the extension of the nationwide eviction and foreclosure moratorium.
Extend Eviction and Foreclosure Moratoriums. The COVID-19 pandemic has triggered an almost unprecedented housing affordability crisis. President Biden is asking the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to consider immediately extending the federal eviction moratorium until at least March 31, while calling on Congress to provide much needed rental assistance and extend it further. He also will ask the Department of Veterans Affairs, Department of Agriculture, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development to consider extending foreclosure moratoriums for federally guaranteed mortgages and continuing applications for forbearance for federally guaranteed mortgages until at least March 31.
Earlier this week, before President Biden took office, the Federal Housing Finance Agency extended its foreclosure and eviction moratoriums until Feb. 28. President Biden called upon the agency to extend the foreclosure moratorium further and continue forbearance applications for all loans guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
Note: The CAI Board of Trustees extended its statement calling for a moratorium on community association foreclosure actions through Feb. 28. If the federal government extends the mortgage foreclosure moratorium, the CAI Board of Trustees will follow suit.
President Biden also released the American Rescue Plan, an emergency legislative package to fund COVID-19 vaccinations, provide immediate, direct relief to families bearing the brunt of the COVID-19 crisis, and support struggling communities. Among other proposals, the plan states:
Help struggling households keep a roof over their heads. The economic fallout of COVID-19 has made it more difficult for working families, especially families of color, to cover their housing expenses. Across the country, 1 in 5 renters and 1 in 10 homeowners with a mortgage are behind on payments. Congress took an important step in the right direction by securing $25 billion in rental assistance and extending the federal eviction moratorium. However, American families already owe $25 billion in back rent, and the threat of widespread evictions will still exist at the end of the moratorium. Further, more than 10 million homeowners have fallen behind on mortgage payments. Failing to take additional action will lead to a wave of evictions and foreclosures in the coming months, overwhelming emergency shelter capacity and increasing the likelihood of COVID-19 infections. And Americans of color, who have on average a fraction of the wealth available to white families, face higher risks of eviction and housing loss without critical assistance.
President Biden is calling on Congress to take immediate action to forestall a coming wave of COVID-related evictions and foreclosures.
Ensure that families hit hard by the economic crisis will not face eviction or foreclosure. President Biden is calling on Congress to extend the eviction and foreclosure moratoriums and continue applications for forbearance on federally guaranteed mortgages until September 30, 2021. These measures will prevent untold economic hardship for homeowners, while limiting the spread of COVID-19 in our communities. President Biden is also calling on Congress to provide funds for legal assistance for households facing eviction or foreclosure.
Help renters and small landlords make ends meet by providing an additional $30 billion in rental and critical energy and water assistance for hard-hit individuals and families. While the $25 billion allocated by Congress was an important down payment on the back rent accrued during this crisis, it is insufficient to meet the scale of the need. That is why President Biden is proposing an additional $25 billion in rental assistance to provide much-needed rental relief, especially for low- and moderate-income households who have lost jobs or are out of the labor market. The president is also proposing $5 billion to cover home energy and water costs and arrears through programs like the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, for struggling renters. These funds will ensure that the hardest-hit renters and small landlords, including those in disadvantaged communities that have suffered disproportionately in terms of pollution and other environmental harms, are not put in the position where they cannot cover their own housing expenses. This program includes a competitive set-aside of funding for states to invest in clean energy and energy efficiency projects that reduce electricity bills for families in disadvantaged communities.
Deliver $5 billion in emergency assistance to help secure housing for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness. This funding will allow states and localities to help approximately 200,000 individuals and families obtain stable housing, while providing a down payment on President Biden’s comprehensive approach to ending homelessness and making housing a right for all Americans. Specifically, these funds will provide flexibility for both congregate and non-congregate housing options, help jurisdictions purchase and convert hotels and motels into permanent housing, and give homeless services providers the resources they need to hire and retain staff, maintain outreach programs, and provide essential services.
We will monitor the emergency legislative package for new developments and keep you informed. Review all current federal government actions regarding COVID-19.
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