President-elect Joe Biden announced a $1.9 trillion stimulus plan on Thursday night that called for a range of aid—including several housing-related proposals—to help households further fend off the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Biden’s plan calls for extending the national eviction and foreclosure moratorium until Sept. 30. It also includes $25 billion more in rental assistance to help the nation’s landlords and $5 billion in homelessness protection. That is on top of the $25 billion in aid that was approved in last month’s $900 billion stimulus package.
“While the $25 billion allocated by Congress was an important down payment on the back rent accrued during the crisis, it is insufficient to meet the scale of the need,” Biden’s team noted in a statement on the stimulus package.
The National Association of REALTORS® has been advocating for rental assistance since Congress passed the first round of pandemic relief, the CARES Act, in late March 2020. NAR and other industry groups argued that a federal eviction moratorium without rental assistance would lead to a crisis in which housing providers couldn’t cover their costs and tenants would fall further and further behind in payments.
"NAR looks forward to reviewing this proposal in more depth, but we are pleased to initially note President-elect Biden’s intentions to expand unemployment assistance, provide hundreds of billions in funding for state and local governments and authorize significant resources for homelessness assistance," National Association of REALTORS®'s President Charlie Oppler said in a statement on Friday. "Perhaps most notably for our members and for America’s real estate industry, we applaud the inclusion of an additional $25 billion in rental assistance for housing providers and rental families."
In a press conference Thursday night, Biden said the extra stimulus geared to homeowners and renters is needed to help stop a wave of evictions and foreclosures. The stimulus package passed by Congress last month extended the eviction moratorium until Jan. 31. But about 19% of renters were still behind on their payments in December 2020, according to the Center on Budget Policies and Priorities, as reported by CNBC.
Biden’s plan also calls for a range of other housing-related proposals, such as setting aside funds to provide legal assistance to households who may face foreclosure or eviction as well as $5 billion in emergency assistance to those who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.
Biden also called on housing agencies to allow applications for forbearance on federally backed mortgages until Sept. 30 to give struggling homeowners more time to request a delay in mortgage payments from their lenders.
Among other provisions, Biden’s $1.9 trillion plan also called for additional individual stimulus checks—$1,400 per person.
Source: “Biden Calls for Extending National Eviction Moratorium Through September 2021 as Part of $1.9 Trillion Stimulus,” MarketWatch (Jan. 14, 2021) and “Biden Calls for $30 Billion More in Rental Assistance and Extending Eviction Ban,” CNBC (Jan. 14, 2021)