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President-Elect Releases COVID-19 Response Plan with Additional Housing Assistance, Foreclosure Prevention

Published on January 15, 2021 by Jennifer Schwartz
President-Elect Releases COVID-19 Response Plan with Additional Housing Assistance, Foreclosure Prevention

Late yesterday afternoon, President-Elect Joe Biden announced his American Rescue Plan, an ambitious $1.9 trillion COVID-19 recovery platform including a national vaccination program, assistance to households, and other supports for communities struggling due to the pandemic. Yesterday’s announcement includes proposals that are part of the first step in what will be a two-step plan. The second step will be an economic recovery plan focused on job creation, combating the climate crisis, and building “back better than before.”

The American Rescue Plan would provide $25 billion in rental assistance, which would be in addition to the $25 billion emergency rental assistance program authorized in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021; $5 billion for energy and water costs; $5 billion in homelessness assistance, specifically to fund congregate and non-congregate housing options, purchase and convert hotels and motels into permanent housing, and fund homeless services providers; and a non-specified amount of funding for legal assistance for households facing eviction or foreclosure. The plan also calls on Congress to extend the eviction and foreclosure moratoriums, as well as continue applications for forbearance on federally guaranteed mortgages through September 30, 2021, but does not state that the incoming administration will act unilaterally to extend the eviction or foreclosure moratoriums.

The plan also calls for numerous public health measures and investments; funding for schools and educational programs; paid emergency leave for workers to prevent the spread of the virus; $1,400 stimulus checks to individuals; extending and expanding unemployment benefits; funding for programs to prevent food insecurity; raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour; funding for child care; grants and loans to small businesses; and more.