On September 16, 2020 a statement from seven leading affordable housing organizations called for immediate rental assistance, paired with financial support for affordable housing providers, to supplement the protection provided by the CDC’s recent eviction moratorium. The statement was issued by the Housing Assistance Council along with Enterprise Community Partners, the Housing Partnership Network, LeadingAge, the Local Initiatives Support Corporation, the National Housing Trust and Stewards of Affordable Housing for the Future.
For six months, Americans have sheltered, worked, and studied at home to stay safe and healthy. Tens of millions of our neighbors, however, have also lost jobs and wages due to COVID-19 and risk losing the safety of their homes, even with a recent eviction moratorium from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). We urge Congress and the Administration to provide rental assistance, paired with financial support for affordable housing providers, to avoid widespread homelessness and the loss of affordable homes. Earlier this month, after negotiations between Congress and the White House failed, the CDC took the unprecedented step of issuing an order banning evictions for nonpayment of rent for some renters through December 31, 2020. The CDC’s eviction moratorium is a public health measure to prevent the spread of COVID-19 by enabling renters to practice social distancing and comply with stay-at-home orders.
While the CDC’s action provides important temporary protections for certain renters across the country, it represents only a partial step toward housing stability. In addition to barring evictions, any effective housing stability policy must also include rental assistance for renters and owners. Help is needed for renters because accumulating arrearages of back rent, penalties, and fees only sets them up for widespread failure on January 1, 2021. Help is needed for owners because their lenders, utility providers, and property services providers still fully expect payments to continue regardless of any eviction moratorium.