Heck Rental Assistance Bill Included in "Heroes Act" Coronavirus Relief Package
Today the next coronavirus relief package, H.R. 6800, the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act, was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives. The bill included Congressman Denny Heck's (D-WA) legislation to provide $100 billion in emergency rental assistance, introduced by Heck in March. An updated version was introduced in May by Heck in the House and Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) in the Senate.
"There was a national housing crisis before the coronavirus pandemic," said Heck. "Now, with our economy tumbling, that crisis has become a full-blown emergency. Millions more Americans are struggling to pay this month's rent, through no fault of their own. This rental assistance measure will help keep them in their homes during this crisis. I applaud Speaker Pelosi and House leadership for recognizing the urgency of this issue, and I thank them for joining me in acting to address it."
The emergency rental assistance provision included in the HEROES Act is Rep. Heck's Emergency Rental Assistance and Rental Market Stabilization Act, which provides $100 billion to help Americans pay rent during the COVID-19 crisis. The legislation distributes these funds through the Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG), an existing program that supports emergency short-term rental assistance. The ESG program has organizations throughout the country that can verify lost income and provide tenants with vouchers to cover the balance of their rent. By supporting tenants struggling to pay rent, this legislation also supports rental property owners of all sizes and bolsters economic recovery as Americans weather the pandemic.
In the House, the Emergency Rental Assistance and Rental Market Stabilization Act was introduced with support from 135 cosponsors, including Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), Chair of the House Financial Services Committee. The Senate bill was introduced with 28 cosponsors by Senator Sherrod Brown, Ranking Member of the Senate Banking Committee.
Congressman Heck co-chairs the New Democrat Coalition's Housing Task Force, which released the report Missing Millions of Homes in the summer of 2018. Since then, Rep. Heck has been fighting for legislation to alleviate the national housing crisis and increase affordability. In the past year he has introduced the Emergency Rental Assistance and Rental Market Stabilization Act, the Emergency Rental Assistance Act (H.R. 6314), the Yes In My Backyard Act (H.R. 4351), the Tribal Access to Homeless Assistance Act (H.R. 4029), a reauthorization of the Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act (H.R. 5319), and the Fulfilling the Promise of the Housing Trust Fund Act (H.R. 5599). He also cosponsored the Build More Housing Near Transit Act (H.R. 4307) and the Veteran HOUSE Act (H.R. 2398), both introduced by Rep. Scott Peters (D-CA).