Without relief from Congress, millions face homelessness in the new year. Here’s what’s at stake:
Some 12 million Americans Will Lose Unemployment Benefits the Day after Christmas.
According to NPR, “We have been living under the original CARES Act that paid supplemental unemployment insurance of $600 a week on top of state benefits. But that additional aid ran out in July. People affected are now scraping by on the emergency relief — just $355 a week. Without action from Congress, even that reduced unemployment payout will end later this month. In all, millions will lose unemployment benefits.”
Also Expiring — a Federal Order Stopping Many Renters from Being Evicted.
A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention order meant to protect renters from eviction ends Jan. 1. Experts say it is protecting a lot of people, even if it is imperfect. It’s not a blanket ban on evictions like some states have mandated.
Many renters don’t know there’s a CDC order that could keep them from being evicted. “For tenants to be covered, they have to send a written declaration to the landlord,” says Velimir Rasic, an attorney with Lone Star Legal Aid Foreclosure.
But Homeowners Still Have Better Protections Than Renters
NPR goes on to say, “Most homeowners have federally backed mortgages, and they have received protection from foreclosure during the pandemic. That ends at the end of the year.”
It’s easy to see lower-income people and minority neighborhoods have been hit harder by the pandemic in various ways.
Homeowners are allowed by Congress to skip up to one year of mortgage payments with no penalties. The vast majority of homeowners should be able to move missed payments to the end of their loans and start making regular mortgage payments when they find work again.
That kind of protection forrenters is not available. Since minority neighborhoods tend to have many more renters, as evictions keep rising, the Black communities and Latino communities will first feel pain.
The $908 Billion Plan
Now a compromise $908 billion Plan has passed the Senate and House and awaits President Trump’s signature. Delaware Public Media outlines some of the key features:
- Extended unemployment insurance — $180 billion — enough to provide a $300 weekly benefit for 18 weeks.
- Help for small businesses — $333 billion — including a renewal of the Paycheck Protection Program that offers forgivable loans.
- Rental assistance program — $25 billion — staffers expect this part to include some form of eviction protection.
- Assistance for state, local and tribal governments — $160 billion.
- Help for transportation systems — $45 billion — includes airlines, airports, buses, transit, and Amtrak.
- Vaccine development and distribution — $16 billion — includes money for testing and tracing.
- Assistance for education and school systems — $82 billion.
- Temporary protection for businesses against COVID-related lawsuits.
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