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COVID-19 Update: Major Disaster Declaration & Stimulus Passes Senate

“Major Disaster” Declaration Approved for North Carolina 

A major disaster exists in North Carolina because of the coronavirus, the President declared Wednesday night, a day after Governor Roy Cooper requested the disaster designation. The action unlocks NC’s access to federal disaster funding to the state, tribal governments, eligible local governments and certain non-profit organizations for emergency protective measures. North Carolina has more than 500 cases of coronavirus and reported its first deaths from the virus on Wednesday.

Cooper, in his request, asked for individual assistance to those affected, including crisis counseling, disaster unemployment assistance and Small Business Administration assistance, according to his office. “It’s important that we help North Carolinians stay protected from the health impacts of COVID-19 and recover economically from the financial impacts this crisis is having on our state,” Cooper said in a statement.

The White House has also approved major disaster declarations for Florida, Louisiana, Iowa and Texas in the last two days. California, Washington and New York have also had their declarations approved.

Senate Approves $2 Trillion COVID-19 Aid Package

Late last night the Senate approved the $2 trillion package containing relief and stimulus funds on a unanimous 90-0 vote (10 senators abstained). For the following measures are included for housing and homelessness resources:

  • $4 billion in Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG) to assist homeless shelters and outreach workers to keep people who are homeless safer from coronavirus
  • $5 B in CDBG (can be used for rental assistance)
  • Public Housing: $685M 
  • $1.25 B in Tenant-Based Rental Assistance (TBRA)
  • $1 B in Project-Based Rental Assistance (PBRA)
  • $300 M in Tribal Housing Grants
  • $120 M for Section 202, Section 811, and HOPWA
  • $2.5 M for fair housing
  • an additional $30 B in Disaster Relief Funds that can supplement some ESG and CDBG uses
  • Regarding evictions, foreclosures, and mortgage relief:
    • Institutes a moratorium on foreclosures for all federally-backed mortgages, including those covered by HUD, USDA, FHA, VA, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, for 60 days beginning on March 18, 2020. Under the bill, a borrower with a federally-backed mortgage experiencing a financial hardship due to coronavirus may also request a forbearance for up to 180 days, which may be extended for another 180 days at the request of the borrower.
    • Allows multifamily housing owners with a federally-backed mortgage to request a forbearance for up to 30 days, which can be extended by another 60 days at the request of the borrower, on the condition that they agree not to evict tenants or charge tenants’ late fees.
    • Institutes a moratorium on filings for evictions for renters in homes covered by a federally-backed mortgage for 120 days of enactment.
    • Provides a temporary moratorium on evictions for most residents of federally subsidized apartments, including those supported by HUD, USDA or Treasury (Low Income Housing Tax Credit developments). The bill also institutes a moratorium on filings for evictions for renters in homes covered by federally-backed mortgages for 120 days of enactment.

For more details of the bill visit NLIHC’s comparison chart and analysis. The bill now moves onto the House where a vote is expected on Friday.

How the Aid Package Affects LIHTC and Other Aspects of Affordable Housing

Novogradac has put together a detailed analysis of the provisions of the aid package. They include details affecting affordable housing development & operations, including for LIHTC projects. Go here to read the report. 

Unemployment Insurance Claims in NC

The NC Division of Employment Services has processed over 166,000 unemployment insurance (UI) claims since Governor Cooper’s Executive Order expanding UI eligibility to include those affected by COVID-19 related job losses and reduced hours. Across the country there have been over 3.2 million unemployment claims in the past week. 

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