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This past week, Congress passed the second-largest coronavirus relief and spending package, which provides aid through unemployment benefits as well as another round of stimulus checks to be sent out. At presstime, the package includes:

– $25 billion in dedicated rental assistance
– $600 in direct stimulus checks
– $300 per week in enhanced unemployment benefits through March. Expiring unemployment programs for gig economy workers and long-term unemployed also extended
– $284 billion for a second forgivable Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan

Here’s how the industry has responded:

The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR):

NAR has been one of the loudest voices in Washington advocating for rental assistance these past few months. While REALTORS® worked to ensure thousands of American families would not go homeless, it was clear that broad, ongoing eviction moratoriums were jeopardizing the very housing opportunities we were trying to protect.

“More than 40 percent of rental units nationally are owned by ‘mom and pop’-operated small businesses, many of which have been struggling to pay their bills and keep a roof over their tenants’ heads. Rental assistance helps stabilize that housing and keep families in their homes, and we’re grateful that Congress could secure this and other critical relief measures in this legislation.”

National Association of Home Builders (NAHB):

“NAHB commends congressional leaders for working together to craft a bipartisan rescue package that will provide much-needed relief for American families and businesses that continue to suffer economic hardship stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. The legislation contains several provisions championed by NAHB. These include simplified Paycheck Protection Program loan forgiveness rules for small businesses, dedicated rental assistance to help renters and landlords, and improvements to the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit that will spur the production of thousands of new affordable rental units. This relief bill will help housing continue to lead the economy forward.”

Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA):

“MBA commends Congress for passing this important piece of legislation that provides the necessary tools to protect borrowers, renters and small businesses.

“We especially appreciate rental assistance for tenants, enhancements to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to help the hospitality sector, continued Troubled Debt Restructuring (TDR) relief for all financial institutions, and continuation of the TALF program. Additionally, we welcome the extension of unemployment insurance and direct assistance for the millions of people who have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“On behalf of the real estate finance industry, we look forward to continuing to work with the administration, Congress and the Federal Reserve to support all consumers and businesses.”

National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC) and National Apartment Association Joint Statement:

“NMHC and NAA congratulate Congressional leaders in both parties on the passage of a COVID relief package that will provide desperately needed support to millions of Americans who call an apartment home.

“For the better part of a year, NMHC and NAA have been at the forefront of calling on policymakers to pass legislation which includes rental assistance as well as a number of other key priorities. While there remains much work to do in the coming weeks and months, this effort is clearly a step in the right direction and will come as welcome news for so many households facing financial distress.

“We are heartened that the legislation includes such critical resources that will allow those impacted by COVID and resulting economic distress to meet their financial obligations, including rent. Unfortunately, it also extends the current CDC eviction moratorium until Jan. 31, 2021. Eviction moratoriums fail to address a renter’s underlying financial distress and do not address housing instability. The resources provided in this package, as well as future support that will need to be extended in 2021, are essential to addressing apartment residents’ financial challenges—not interminable moratoriums.

“NMHC and NAA will continue to work with policymakers on future legislation to ensure that residents and housing providers have the support necessary to allow for a sustainable and equitable recovery. As part of that recovery, targeted and limited liability protections for apartment firms will be a critical component of future COVID packages.”

National Home Rental Council:

“The National Rental Home Council applauds lawmakers for offering $900 billion in COVID relief, including $25 billion in assistance to the renters and landlords struggling to weather COVID. The rental assistance announced today will help families stay in their homes, while giving rental home property owners the resources they need to meet the costs of ownership. Since many single-family homeowners own just one property, their margins are already thin. Without rental income, they can’t afford to pay property taxes, maintenance, and service fees on their properties.

“America’s mom-and-pop landlords, who own all but 0.2 percent of America’s single-family units, also rely on their rental home investments to finance their retirement, their kids’ college tuition, and other major expenses. Today’s package also benefits renters, since single-family rental homes account for over half of all rental housing in the United States. And monthly home rental rates remain lower than the monthly mortgage payment for an entry-level home. We thank Congress for offering assistance that puts money in the pockets of renters and landlords. Direct payments allow families to pay their rent and allow landlords to continue providing safe and affordable housing to their communities.”

Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY):

“With this agreement, Congress has taken a step toward delivering federal rental assistance, enhancing unemployment benefits and the Paycheck Protection Program, providing mass transit funds, and bolstering vaccine distribution and COVID-19 testing efforts, among other crucial actions.

“But this measure alone does not provide enough federal support to comprehensively address New York’s growing economic crisis. State and local aid is needed to account for the ongoing loss of billions in city and state tax revenue that fuels basic government services. More rental assistance is needed to protect residential and commercial tenants and property owners who will still struggle to pay their rent or mortgage over the months to come. More infrastructure and transit funding is needed to help kickstart our economy and create more good jobs for New Yorkers.

“We must make the most of this new federal package, but the conversation can’t end here. Elected officials and stakeholders across the spectrum must keep advocating for more of the federal aid needed to ensure a strong and equitable recovery for all New Yorkers—and this must continue to be top priority for the incoming Biden Administration and the new Congress.”

The Council of Large Public Housing Authorities (CLPHA):

“While we welcome that Congress has finally acknowledged the dire need of low-income families facing evictions and homelessness with $25 billion in emergency rental assistance, the stimulus package is long overdue. It is a recognition of the enormous threat looming, not only for millions of low-income renters, but also to the national economy. It is estimated that there will be $70 billion in past due rent by the first of January. This is why $25 billion is only a down payment on rebuilding the shredded social safety net that has been continuously underfunded for decades. We know that those at greatest risk, especially during the pandemic, are low-income households.

“While we applaud action to deliver emergency rental assistance, we are alarmed by the months-long delay in the Senate to consider meaningful COVID-related relief. The delay has exacerbated the pain and suffering caused by the pandemic that has fallen on the backs of the country’s most vulnerable families. More assistance will be needed to avert crisis-level increases in evictions and homelessness.

“CLPHA is committed to working with Congress and the new administration over the coming weeks to ensure this emergency rental relief begins to address the massive economic disruption, unemployment and housing insecurity faced by low-income households across the country.”

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