Last week, the House passed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (H.R.1319), a $1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief package. The bill includes one-time $1,400 stimulus checks, boosts the weekly supplemental unemployment benefits from $300 to $400 through August 29, 2021, and authorizes $350 billion in state and local aid, among other provisions aimed at mitigating the pandemic-induced economic fallout.
The bill also provides several important provisions intended to mitigate the impacts of pandemic-induced housing insecurity. These include over $20 billion for the Treasury’s Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) program; nearly $10 billion to establish a Homeowner Assistance Fund that would be administered by the Treasury; $5 billion through the HOME program formula to help jurisdictions secure housing for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness; $5 billion in emergency housing vouchers; $5 billion to cover home energy and water costs and arrears for impacted households; and $100 million to assist tenants living in USDA-subsidized developments. The bill passed the House with a 219-212 vote and is currently on the way to the Senate floor. Congressional leadership and the Biden-Harris Administration hope to enact the legislation before March 14, when unemployment benefits are set to expire.