Act now! Congress must include rental assistance in the next stimulus bill.
We are facing a critical moment in the struggle to keep renters in their homes during this catastrophic health and economic emergency. Current negotiations in Washington around an additional round of stimulus includes consideration of $25 billion in rent relief to help families who have been unable to keep up with their rent payments. Congress could make a deal any day now on COVID relief. This deal must include emergency rental assistance as a high priority.
While we know this action alone will not meet the full needs we face, lack of immediate action could promise a massive wave of evictions when the state moratorium expires in February. We are hopeful that the State legislature will take action to extend the moratorium. Two bills were introduced on December 7th —one in the Assembly that would extend the deadline through 2021, and one in the Senate that would provide a three-month extension.
We need your help. Please join us, and communities throughout the country, by sending a letter to congressional leaders urging the inclusion of rent relief in the stimulus bill under negotiation.
The most recent Census numbers show that the number of California adults reporting that they are behind on rent in November has topped 1 million, with tens of thousands here in Santa Clara County. The new Coronavirus surge, and the resulting stay at home orders issued last week, will shut down more of the economy and further strain many more households that have been keeping afloat on credit and savings. People forced out of their homes, families doubling up, and a rise in homelessness will be catastrophic in the midst of this pandemic.
The pain and risks of this period will be very difficult, and will require all of us to engage in solutions to keep people housed, and landlords above water. Additional rental assistance will be essential, even as we know it will not address the magnitude of the needs we face.