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Rent relief agreement and a new year of challenges and opportunities

Late this afternoon, congressional leaders announced the conclusion to several months of negotiations on a $900 billion emergency relief package for the COVID-19 economic crisis. The $25 billion for emergency rental assistance included in the agreement is a practical start for staving off the immediate threat of mass evictions across the country.

Rapid deployment of the funds is the most important next step. Distributing them directly to the states through the U.S. Treasury will be the most efficient way to get the money quickly into the hands of those waiting for assistance. It is essential that Treasury fast-track regulations to guide distribution procedures, so that tenants and their landlords get the help they need now.

More will be needed to prevent housing insecurity for millions of low- and moderate-income households who are managing the economic fallout of the pandemic. U.S. Census Pulse Survey indicates that an estimated six to 16 million Americans fear they may not have enough funds on hand to pay their next rent. Analysis by Stout Risius Ross, LLC predicts that between 2.4 million and 4.9 million households will be at immediate risk of eviction in January.

We applaud Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, and members of the 908 Coalition in the Senate and the Problem Solvers Caucus for their hard work in reaching an important mutual agreement for the benefit of the American people.

Compromise is the art of the possible, and while much more help will be needed, this bill is an essential first step, building back our ability to work together. We hope that a continuing spirit of compromise will prevail as the new Congress addresses the persistent need for further rent relief measures in 2021.

As we head into the new year your NHC membership has never been more valuable or impactful. I encourage all of you who are not yet members to join NHC so that you can participate fully in our 2021 initiatives and join more than 300 other housing professionals and organizations in advocating for effective solutions to housing challenges.

We’re planning to hit the ground running in 2021, starting with our Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) Working Group. Beginning on January 5, NHC will host CRA Working Group calls every Tuesday in January from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. We’ll use these calls, which will be open to members only, to prepare and review NHC’s response to the Federal Reserve’s CRA advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPR), which is due by February 16. Come ready to discuss the questions posed in the ANPR.

We’re also looking for subject matter experts to participate in our Black Homeownership Collaborative. This industry-wide collaborative led by a Steering Committee consisting of NHC, National Urban League, NAACP, Urban Institute, Mortgage Bankers Association, National Association of Real Estate Brokers, National Fair Housing Alliance and National Association of REALTORS® is open to members and non-members alike. The collaborative is working to close the Black homeownership gap with a 12-point plan to create 3 million net new Black homeowners by 2030.

Looking for an opportunity to get even more involved with NHC? We’re currently interviewing candidates to serve as NHC’s Policy Director. This position offers an opportunity to play a critical role in leading 2021 housing initiatives and make a positive impact on issues such as Black homeownership and economic recovery, while advancing innovative housing solutions for the 21st century. We’re interested in candidates with deep housing experience and a track record of successful advocacy. If you or someone you know is interested in the position, you can find more information about the role and responsibilities on our website.

However you choose to get involved with NHC – either by becoming a member, joining a working group or joining our staff – you can be sure your participation will help make a tangible impact on housing issues that matter.

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