Tuesday, December 22, 2020 / by Vanessa Saunders
By Vanessa Saunders, MBA, MIMC , Broker Owner, Global Property Systems Real Estate.
Wondering what's in the $900 billion package just put under America's Christmas tree for housing?
The stimulus package — part of a $2.5 trillion spending bill — includes relief for small business, schools, the unemployed, public health, transportation, food assistance, and some weird stuff too, like a "3 martini lunch" tax break for business meals and a statement regarding the succession or reincarnation of the Dalia Lama. Not surprisingly, it also contains relief for people needing housing assistance.
These measures include:
1. A one-month extension of the Centers for Disease Control’s eviction moratorium.
2. A $600 stimulus check for qualifying individuals, expanding unemployment benefits that boost the state-led aid by $300 per week and another $284 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program.
3. $25 billion in rental assistance, with each state receiving a minimum of $200 million.
All of which is good news for the millions of Americans who are out of work, behind on their rent, or facing foreclosure on their mortgages. It's not enough, but it's more than they've gotten over the last nine months of unproductive haggling by Congress.
The checks coming in the mail to Americans earning less than $75,000 a year are exactly half the amount provided in the last stimulus, the CARES Act. The $300 federal unemployment boost will run for 11 weeks, through March 14. As for the direct payments, families with children will also be eligible for $600 per child.
The one month extension of the eviction moratorium doesn't offer much help to struggling renters, and the $25 billion won’t cover the estimated $70 billion in back rent owed by renters. But it could give Congress time to get to work in January on a more comprehensive plan. The deal comes as the country’s eviction moratorium was set to expire, which could have left as many as 40 million renters exposed to the risk of eviction at the end of the month, at a time when unemployment is still rising.
According to Diane Yentel, the president and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition, “Extending the moratorium through January provides time for emergency rental assistance to be distributed, and for President-elect Biden to improve and further extend the moratorium immediately after being sworn into office.”
What this relief package is beginning to sound like is another example of Congress kicking the financial can down the road once again. But it is actually a 5,593-page bill that's part of a larger multi-trillion deal to keep the government funded.
At least there's a little something in it for the Dahai Lama.
The New York Magazine's Intelligencer carried a comprehensive analysis of the latest stimulus plan today. Access it at: