Congress continues to be at a standoff about how to respond to the ongoing health care and economic needs caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The expanded unemployment benefits that were enacted in March to help buffer the economic impacts expired last week. The moratorium on evictions of renters in properties with federal assistance expired on July 24, although fortunately landlords are required to file a 30-day notice of an intention to evict.
Back in May, the House of Representatives passed a $3 trillion bill, the HEROES Act, that provides significant support to deal with the array of health care and economic needs caused by the economic shut down necessary to slow the spread of COVID 19. The Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell introduced a $1 trillion alternative bill this week that lacked almost any housing provisions, but it failed to garner the support either of a majority of the Republican caucus or the White House.
The differences between the House, Senate and the Administration are vast, and with the expiration of key provisions looming, pressure is on policymakers to come to an agreement. Unemployment benefits, funds for renters and homeowners, funds for COVID testing and contact-tracing, better forbearance and post-forbearance rules, assistance for state and local governments, and extra funding to help schools reopen safely are all critical.
For information about the complex web of local, state, and federal moratoria on evictions and foreclosures, click here.
For housing funding advocacy resources, click here.
Neighborhood Homes Investment Act Update
NCST has been leading a coalition working to pass the Neighborhood Homes Investment Act (NHIA), which creates a tax credit for developers of modest single-family homes to fill the “valuation gap” caused when the cost of building or rehabilitating a home is more than the fair market value of that home.
Unlike the COVID-19 legislative stalemate, significant progress is being made to move this legislation toward passage. In July a bipartisan group of senators, including Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD), Rob Portman (R-OH), Chris Coons (D-DE), Todd Young (R-IN), Tim Scott (R-SC), and Sherrod Brown (D-OH), introduced S. 4073, the Neighborhood Homes Investment Act, a companion to H.R. 3316, originally introduced by Representatives Brian Higgins (D-NY) and Mike Kelly (R-PA). Also in July, the House passed NHIA as part of broader infrastructure bill, which is now pending in the Senate.
We are also excited that former Vice President Joe Biden’s presidential campaign endorsed NHIA as part of a plan to promote racial and economic equity. For more information, click here and here.