Almost immediately after his official inauguration, President Joe Biden signed 17 executive orders, one of which is an eviction extension of protection until March 31.
All those living in rental households can breathe a sigh of relief, as this executive order has saved many from facing eviction and being forced onto the streets as a result of the economic fallout of the pandemic. Additionally, President Biden has assigned Congress the task of allocating $30 billion for the assistance of those who had trouble paying rent last month, which includes up till now up to 10 million households.
Last March, the CARES Act also provided significant eviction protection for all of those who live in rental properties, which is one-third of the population (over 107 million people). Expected to expire on January 31st after being extended by Congress last December, the initiative also aimed at putting together $25 billion worth of rent assistance, which will follow strict income requirements and prioritize those with the lowest income.
It’s not only those who live in rentals who have been hit hard by the pandemic, but those who work in the housing industry as well. As experts from the National Housing Conference say, there has been a notable shortage of housing, which has taken its toll on homebuilders, many of whom are out of business. The only ones that were able to survive are the ones who target high-end residential properties. Due to a decrease in supply and higher demand, housing prices have gone up. It’s also important that to note that during the COVID-19 pandemic, suburban areas have witnessed an interesting rate of growth, due to city residents moving out of crowded urban centers.
To stimulate the housing market, there is a new initiative to offer prospective homeowners, who are interested in buying a home for the first time, $15,000 worth of tax credit. In addition, the Biden administration is working to get put together a $100 billion fund for building and enhancing affordable residential properties.
There has also been a push to work more closely with local communities and state governments to construct more affordable housing units to meet the high level of demand. Maria Fudge, who was selected by the Biden administration to direct the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), has encouraged more funding to go into the HOME Investment Partnerships Program, an initiative that supports state and local governments by providing them with the grants needed to build affordable housing. While this may not be an eviction protection program, it can definitely help with housing costs. If you are looking specifically for eviction assistance programs, your local public housing authority (PHA) will have a great source of data to help you understand your available opportunities.
Getting Rent Assistance from the New Stimulus Bill
If you are living in a rental property and you are struggling with keeping up with the rent due to COVID-19, it is now possible for you to apply to get rent assistance, which is being funded with up to $25 billion worth of government money. Here are a couple of useful pieces of information you should know about the fund and its applications procedures:
- This is not deferring the payment of rent: The goal of the fund is not to defer your payment. This is the government basically paying your rent for some of the months when you missed the rent. How much you will get is as always determined depending on your level of need.
- Application Procedures: Applications will have to be done through your local state government and each state will have its own set of requirements and procedures.
- Requirements: It’s important to note that every state will have its own requirements, but in summary, there are three fundamental conditions that need to be met in order to receive funding.
- Financial Need: You have to either be on or qualify for unemployment benefits or were financially affected due to the economic fallout of the pandemic. There needs to be sufficient documentation to prove this as well.
- Housing Instability: If you want eviction prevention assistance, the second requirement is that your housing situation has to be unstable, meaning that you are in danger of being homeless or being evicted. Documents have to be provided to make this evident, which can either be an eviction notice or a past due rent notice.
- Income requirement: Your income should be at or below 80% of the area’s median income.
- Other requirements: If you live in unsafe conditions as a result of the pandemic or if you have a past due utility notice, you may qualify for some of the funding, provided you have documentation to prove that.