FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 22, 2020
Contact: Izzy Woodruff | 202-898-1661 | IWoodruff@nationalfairhousing.org
Statement of the National Fair Housing Alliance on New COVID-19 Relief Bill
Washington, D.C. — Today, Lisa Rice, President and CEO of the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA), released the following statement on the COVID-19 relief bill just passed by Congress:
“The long-overdue COVID-19 relief package passed by Congress offers a very faint glimmer of hope to the millions of families struggling to stay healthy and make ends meet this holiday season. We welcome the bill’s $25 billion in rental and utility assistance for renters and one-month extension of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s eviction moratorium that was originally set to expire on December 31. However, it is painfully clear that these measures fall far short of what is needed to adequately address the ongoing pandemic and economic crisis Americans are facing, which is exacerbated by underlying structural inequities.
“This bill is a Band-Aid, albeit a much-needed one. While it does offer vital immediate relief, we know the COVID-19 pandemic will not end on January 31 when the new eviction moratorium expires, and millions of families will continue to struggle in the coming weeks, months, and years unless Congress takes comprehensive, meaningful action. The $25 billion in assistance for renters is very important but woefully insufficient. Almost 12 million renters, who are disproportionately people of color, are now close to $6,000 behind in rent, as the Washington Post recently reported, translating to up to $70 billion in debt owed by January.
“In September, NFHA called on Congress to provide at least $100 billion of emergency rental assistance, and we stand by that. Additionally, this month, we released a roadmap for the Biden-Harris administration calling for passage of the HEROES Act which includes a Homeowners Assistance Fund and extends forbearance to the 30% of homeowners who were not covered by the CARES Act. Passing the HEROES Act is vital to ensuring communities of color can have a full recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. NFHA again calls on Congress to take further steps to help Americans who are hurting in so many ways right now. This should include ensuring that any future eviction moratoria and foreclosure prevention eliminate loopholes that could leave millions of families out in the cold and exacerbate impacts from the pandemic and economic and housing crises.
“NFHA knows that having a stable home in which to shelter in place is a key part of stemming the spread of COVID-19, so we must continue fighting to make this a reality for all Americans. There’s still a lot of work to do.”
About The National Fair Housing Alliance
Founded in 1988, NFHA is a consortium of more than 200 private, nonprofit fair housing organizations and state and local civil rights agencies from throughout the United States. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., NFHA works to eliminate housing discrimination and ensure equal housing opportunity for all people through leadership, education, outreach, membership services, public policy initiatives, community development, advocacy, and enforcement.