On March 11, President Biden signed into law the American Rescue Plan, a nearly $2 trillion package of funding to help us recover and move forward from the heath and economic crisis brought on by COVID-19. In addition to direct cash aid to families, the Plan contains $40 billion in desperately needed funding for housing.
The money will start to flow in the coming weeks and be locally administered by states, counties, cities, and local Public Housing Authorities. Additional guidance for many programs are expected in the coming weeks from the Department of Treasury and other Administration departments.
The Rescue Plan allocates an additional $21.55 billion in rental assistance, in addition to the $25 billion that was allocated in December, that will run through the Coronavirus Relief Fund under the Treasury Department. Most of the provisions and requirements are the same as those from the December Congressional relief package and include:
Assistance for up to 18 months of rent — including back rent and forward-going rental assistance
Eligible for rent or utility payments,
Up to 10% of the total funds are available for supportive housing services
Available to low-income renters directly or to landlords/utility providers of low-income tenants and customers
Available to anyone who is or has experienced direct or indirect impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic
Available to tenants regardless of documentation status
Housing Voucher Expansion
$5 billion has been allocated for expanding the current Section 8 Voucher assistance program. These funds are targeted to people currently or recently experiencing homelessness, at risk of homelessness, or fleeing domestic violence. Unlike the current Section 8 Voucher program, these additional funds can also be used to provide assistance with moving costs, including security deposits.
Homeowner Relief Fund
$10 billion has been allocated for a homeowner relief fund to provide mortgage payment assistance and assistance with utilities, insurance and homeowners' association costs.
Homelessness Assistance Fund
$5 billion has been allocated for rental assistance, to acquire or develop non congregate shelter for permanent housing, to provide supportive service to prevent people from being forced into homelessness. The funds are targeted to those experiencing homelessness — including veterans — and those at risk of experiencing homelessness.