How Does the New Stimulus Bill Help People with Housing?
The new stimulus bill provides billions of dollars in rental and utility assistance to people who are struggling and in danger of being evicted from their homes.
Nearly $22 billion will go toward emergency rental assistance. The vast majority of it replenishes the so-called Coronavirus Relief Fund, created by the CARES Act and distributed through state, local and tribal governments, according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition.
That’s on top of the $25 billion in assistance provided by the relief package passed in December.
To receive financial assistance — which could be used for rent, utilities and other housing expenses — households have to meet several conditions.
- Household income cannot exceed 80 percent of the area median income,
- at least one household member must be at risk of homelessness or housing instability, and
- individuals have to qualify for unemployment benefits or have experienced financial hardship (directly or indirectly) because of the pandemic.
- Lower-income families that have been unemployed for three months or more will be given priority for assistance.
Is there anything for homeowners?
The bill provides nearly $10 billion to help homeowners struggling with mortgage payments, utility bills and other housing costs.
Roughly $100 million will be dedicated to housing counseling, which will help both homeowners and renters remain in their homes.
How about homeless people?
About $5 billion will be allocated to help the homeless, including the conversion of properties like motels into shelters.
Another $5 billion will be used for emergency housing vouchers to help several groups of people — from the homeless to people at risk of homelessness, including survivors of domestic violence — find stable housing.
Source: New York Times, March 11, 2021.