Coronavirus In Rural America

Coronavirus Relief Agreement Reached After Months of Uncertainty

A brief eviction moratorium, $25 billion in rent aid, Paycheck Protection Program loans, supplemental unemployment benefits and checks to individuals are among the many provisions included in the relief bill signed into law by President Trump on December 27, 2020 after months of negotiations among congressional leaders and the White House. The Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act was rolled together with provisions to fund the government for the rest of fiscal year 2021 and several other measures.

The following list summarizes some of the bill’s key provisions relevant for affordable rural housing providers. HAC will provide more details as they become available.

  • Eviction moratorium: extends the Centers for Disease Control’s moratorium through January 31, 2021, without making any changes to the CDC’s language;
  • Rent assistance: provides $25 billion to be distributed to states, local governments and tribes by the Treasury Department to be used for up to 15 months of past or future housing costs for renters with incomes under 80 percent of area median; there are no additional funds for HUD or USDA housing programs;
  • Coronavirus Relief Fund deadline: extends the deadline for states, localities and tribes to use CRF funds provided by the CARES Act, so they can continue spending that money through December 31, 2021 instead of December 31, 2020;
  • Unemployment benefits: extends federal unemployment compensation, which will provide $300 per week through March 14, 2021 in addition to unemployment insurance payments provided by states;
  • Cash payments to individuals: provides $600 for individuals making less than $75,000 per year or $1,200 per couple making up to $150,000 plus $600 per child;
  • Paycheck Protection Program: adds new funding and makes some changes to the Paycheck Protection Program and other aid for small businesses;
  • Rural broadband: provides funding for broadband, including some targeted to rural areas;
  • CDFIs: creates an Emergency Capital Investment Program with $9 billion for lenders, including Community Development Financial Institutions and minority depository institutions, to invest in places disproportionately impacted by the pandemic;
  • Low Income Housing Tax Credit: sets 4 percent as the floor for the 4 percent housing credit, a change that is estimated to finance an additional 130,000 rental units in the next ten years.