The House Ways and Means Committee and House Financial Services Committee convened markup hearings this week to consider the American Rescue Plan released by President Biden in January. “Our nation is struggling, the virus is still not contained, and the American people are counting on Congress to meet this moment with bold, immediate action,” said House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.).
“Across the nation people are struggling to make ends meet, and hunger is growing,” said House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) during her opening statement. “Communities of color continue to be the hardest hit. The nation needs the $1.9 trillion in relief the American Rescue Plan would provide.” The committee also considered $10 billion in funding for struggling homeowners.
NHC helped lead more than 350 housing and civil rights organizations in a letter to congressional leaders advocating for additional funding for homeowners. The letter calls for $25 billion in direct assistance to homeowners facing hardships as a result of COVID-19, who disproportionately represent communities of color, with state housing finance agencies deploying the bulk of the funds through the Homeowner Assistance Fund. The letter also calls for at least $100 million for housing counseling and $39.7 million for the Fair Housing Initiatives Program.
Last week, Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Jack Reed (D-R.I.) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) reintroduced the Homeowner Assistance Fund bill. “Millions of homeowners have fallen behind on their mortgages because of this pandemic, and the burden has fallen most heavily on families of color who have been disproportionately harmed during this crisis,”said Sen. Brown.“The Homeowner Assistance Fund will provide vital resources to keep families safe in their homes during and after this pandemic and keep us from deepening the inequities in our housing system.”