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Congressional Leaders Continue Negotiations on End-of-Year COVID-19 Relief

Pamela Atwood, Director of Housing Policy

As of Friday morning (12/18), Congressional leaders continue negotiations on an additional round of COVID-19 related relief measures. The need for additional government assistance is well-documented. Statistics continue to show us that people across the country are being deeply harmed by the economic fallout resulting from the coronavirus pandemic. Here in North Carolina:

As of this writing, the relief package includes the following provisions:

  • $25 billion in emergency rental assistance,
  • Extension of the deadline to spend CARES Act monies to December 31, 2021,
  • One month extension of the CDC Eviction Order to January 31, 2021.

Rental assistance would be distributed to states and cities with populations greater than 200,000 via the Coronavirus Relief Fund, rather than through HUD supplemental allocations as was the case with the CARES Act. North Carolina would receive an estimated $701 million to be administered by the state and large localities. Presumably the state’s portion of rental assistance would be funneled into the HOPE Program to continue to provide rental and utility assistance. 

The relief package currently also includes an extension of enhanced unemployment insurance benefits and the possibility of another round of direct stimulus checks to individuals. 

National advocates consider the $25 billion for rental assistance and the CARES Act deadline extension to be “safe” from removal as negotiations continue. However, the extension of the CDC eviction moratorium is at-risk of being removed. Senate Republicans reportedly do not agree that the extension is necessary if there are funds for rental assistance and may even be attempting to increase the rental assistance amount. Advocates and state and local government officials would argue that the process of getting assistance payments processed is time-intensive and millions could still be at-risk for eviction as they move through the process. 

Lawmakers are intending to attach the relief package to either omnibus appropriations or to a Continuing Resolution (CR) to keep the government funded through March 2021. The government is currently funded via a CR expiring Friday 12/18 at 11:59pm unless the spending bill or another CR are passed. As of this writing, lawmakers do not anticipate being able to resolve agreement on the relief package by Friday night and have been advised to remain in D.C. over the weekend to continue working. A short shut-down of 2-3 days or a CR are the most likely scenarios. The Coalition will continue to monitor the progress of additional COVID-19 relief and housing provisions. 

What You Can Do Now:

Call Senators Richard Burr and Thom Tillis to urge them to extend the CDC eviction order and provide at least $25 billion in rental assistance.

Sen. Burr – D.C. office: 202-224-3154
Sen. Tillis – D.C. office: 202-224-6342

Recommended read

Housing Call: December 15, 2020

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