INDUSTRY GETS RELIEF

The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, signed into law on Sunday, encompasses $900 billion in coronavirus relief and $1.4 trillion in government spending. The legislation includes several measures that benefit apartment firms, including $3.5 billion for Community Development Block Grants, $1.35 billion for the HOME Investment Partnership Program and $13.5 billion for Project-Based Rental Assistance, according to a statement last week by the National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC).

The package also provides $25 billion to the Treasury Department for a new Emergency Rental Assistance program, along with various measures expected to shore up household finances, including $300 in federal unemployment assistance through March 14 and direct payments of $600 to individuals earning up to $75,000 per year and married couples earning up to $150,000 per year.

Many Americans continue to struggle with rent payments as the economic damage triggered by the coronavirus persists. The U.S. unemployment rate dropped to 6.7 percent in November but remains elevated compared the February rate of 3.5 percent before the onset of the pandemic.

NMHC found that 89.8 percent of households made a full or partial rent payment by December 20, based on a survey of 11.5 million professionally managed apartment units across the country. That figure was down by 3.4 percentage points, or 392,952 households, compared to the share who paid rent through December 20, 2019.

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