U.S. President-elect Joe Biden last week announced a stimulus plan worth $1.9 trillion that included several housing-related proposals aimed at helping people to stave off the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
The proposals would extend the moratorium on evictions and foreclosures until Sept. 30, provide an additional $25 billion in rental assistance to help landlords, plus $5 billion for homelessness protection.
“While the $25 billion allocated by Congress was an important down payment on the back rent accrued during the crisis, it is insufficient to meet the scale of the need,” Biden’s team said in a statement regarding the stimulus package.
The proposal was warmly welcomed by the National Association of Realtors, which has been advocating for increased rental assistance since the first round of pandemic relief, called the CARES Act, was passed in March 2020. The NAR has said that extending moratoriums on evictions without rental assistance would hurt landlords that can’t cover their own costs.
"NAR looks forward to reviewing this proposal in more depth, but we are pleased to initially note President-elect Biden’s intentions to expand unemployment assistance, provide hundreds of billions in funding for state and local governments and authorize significant resources for homelessness assistance," said NAR President Charlie Oppler. "Perhaps most notably for our members and for America’s real estate industry, we applaud the inclusion of an additional $25 billion in rental assistance for housing providers and rental families."
Biden said Thursday during a press conference that the stimulus is needed to prevent a wave of evictions and foreclosures as there are thousands of Americans who have lost jobs and income due to the pandemic. A stimulus package approved by Congress in December extended moratoriums until Jan 31., but about 19% of all renters in the country remained behind on their payments as of that month, CNBC reported.
Biden’s plan also calls for funds to be set aside to provide legal assistance to households that might face foreclosure or eviction, as well as $5 billion in emergency assistance for those who are, or are at risk of, becoming homeless.
The President-elect has also called on housing agencies to allow forbearance applications on federally backed mortgages until Sept. 30, to give those who’re struggling to pay their mortgages more time to request a delay in making payments.
Biden’s plan also calls for individual stimulus checks of $1,400 per person.