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January 29, 2021 | February 01, 2021 | 466 total views

On January 20, 2021, President Joseph R. Biden and Vice President Kamala D. Harris were sworn into office. The new Administration took key actions on their first day related to homelessness and housing insecurity. These actions include:

  • Extending the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) federal eviction moratorium until March 31, 2021.
  • Directing the U.S. Departments of Veterans Affairs, Agriculture, and Housing and Urban Development to extend their foreclosure moratoria for federally-backed mortgages until March 31, 2021.
  • Directing the Federal Housing Finance Agency to extend their foreclosure and eviction moratoria past February 28, 2021.
  • Prohibiting workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity and directing agencies to take steps to protect the rights of LGBTQ+ individuals.
  • Providing the Census Bureau ample time complete an accurate population count for each state, including non-citizens.
  • Embedding equity across federal policymaking and rooting out systemic racism through a number of initiatives including defining “equity” and launching an equitable data working group.
  • Directing the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to provide 100% reimbursement for expenses related to certain COVID relief efforts, such as non-congregate shelter.

In addition to these bold actions, President Biden has introduced the first step in an aggressive, two-step COVID-19 relief plan – called the American Rescue Plan – which would invest about $1.9 trillion into the country. The plan builds upon important provisions passed in the COVID-19 relief package from December 2020 by extending the CDC national eviction moratorium until September 30, 2021, including an additional $30 billion for emergency rental and utility assistance, and providing a supplemental stimulus check per individual in the amount of $1,400 to supplement the $600 approved in December.

Biden’s plan also includes $5 billion for homelessness and housing, something that was absent from the December package. This money would go to states and localities to provide flexibility for both congregate and non-congregate housing options as well as to help jurisdictions purchase and convert hotels/motels into permanent housing and support homeless service providers with staffing, programs, and outreach.

Additionally, the plan would expand the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), provide $1 billion for states to cover increased Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) services, and reimplement and expand emergency paid sick and family and medical leave. It would also provide $20 billion for veteran health care services, $800 million for programs that protect domestic violence and intimate partner violence survivors, ensure COVID-19 vaccinations are free and available equitably for all individuals (regardless of immigration status), and raise the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour.
The American Rescue Plan is still a proposal and will need to pass through Congress before it can be implemented. We urge you to call on your representatives in Congress to share the necessity of this bold action plan which includes robust support to combat homelessness and poverty. To find out how to contact your Congressional representative, visit LAHSA’s legislative affairs resource page, here.

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