Legislation Introduced To Help Struggling Families Pay Rent During The Coronavirus Pandemic

May 10, 2020, 1:44 PM HST · Updated May 10, 1:44 PM
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US Senators Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) today announced new legislation, the Emergency Rental Assistance and Rental Market Stabilization Act of 2020.

The bill would establish an Emergency Rental Assistance program to provide $100 billion in emergency rental assistance to help families and individuals pay their rent and remain housed during and after the COVID-19 crisis.

Supporters of the legislation say stabilizing renters and the rental market through this crisis will help the economy recover from the economic aftershocks of the pandemic.

“Our bill will make sure that Hawai‘i families who are struggling to get by during this crisis can still make their rent and keep the lights on,” said Senator Schatz, a member of the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee. “We have to do everything we can to keep families in their homes.”

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Specifically, the bill would:

  • Authorize $100 billion for an Emergency Rental Assistance program to help families and individuals pay their rent and utility bills and remain housed during and after the COVID-19 crisis.
  • The program would send funds to communities, states, and tribes through an existing federal temporary rental assistance program to facilitate the rapid distribution of funds through an already-available administrative and reporting system.

The Senate bill is currently cosponsored by 24 of Schatz and Brown’s Democratic colleagues. The bill has been endorsed by a diverse list of housing, state and local government, child advocacy, faith, health care, women’s, civil rights, disability rights, and social welfare organizations. These groups include the National Alliance to End Homelessness, National Low Income Housing Coalition, Children’s Defense Fund, U.S. Conference of Mayors, National Association of Counties, National Urban League, and National League of Cities.

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