The New York Housing Conference along with 15 other New York organizations sent a letter to majority and minority leaders in Congress and the New York Congressional delegation with recommendations for emergency housing and homelessness aid and longer-term measures needed in the next round of federal COVID-19 assistance.
Congress allocated $12 billion in coronavirus assistance to HUD as part of last month’s CARES Act. However, it is becoming clear that the money appropriated will not be nearly enough to deal with the housing disruptions that are coming from the health and economic effects of the coronavirus (see our fact sheet on New York’s health, housing, and economic conditions here).
New York state has over 200,000 confirmed cases and over 10,000 deaths confirmed from the coronavirus. We’re also seeing troubling signs of the economic and housing effects to come. In the past three weeks, there have been almost 800,000 new unemployment filings in New York state, and a poll by the National Small Business Association found that nearly half of small businesses nationally have already seen reduced business. In addition, data from the National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC)’s rent payment tracker found that only 69 percent of households paid their rent through Apr. 5 (compared to 81 percent through March 5).
These all point to the need for significant housing assistance in the next Congressional aid package. Below are highlights of the recommendations. We are calling for the following emergency assistance:
- 11.5 billion in ESG funding for homelessness
- $100 billion for rental assistance, including short-term back rent, medium-term programs like the 2-year T-DAP program, and long term assistance like Section 8
- $5 billion for public housing operating funds
- Direct assistance to residential property owners
- A national moratorium on eviction and foreclosures
We also made recommendations for what the nation will need to recover from the crisis, including:
- $70 billion in public housing capital
- $45 billion in the National Housing Trust Fund
- Expanded rental assistance
- Emergency assistance to prevent evictions
- Increating Low Income Housing Tax Credit and Private Activity Tax-Exempt Bonds