WASHINGTON- Senator Michael Bennet of Colorado along with 25 other senate democrats recently introduced the Emergency Rental Assistance and Rental Market Stabilization Act of 2020. The bill calls for $100 billion in rental assistance.
Although there is a 120 day federal moratorium on eviction due to COVID-19 that began on March 27, Senator Michael Bennet says this legislation is aimed at preventing future housing issues caused by COVID-19 Economic impact.
“What we’re trying to do is give people incremental assistance so they can stay in their homes,” Bennet said. “We can’t stand by and allow the public health crisis to turn into an eviction crisis.”
At the Grand Junction Housing Authority, one director says COVID-19 has created a tough time for tenants.
“In April of this year, 58 of our residents were unable to pay their rent either in full or in part,” said Scott Aker, the organization’s chief operating officer. “And in May, the data we have so far, that number has jumped to 71.”
Aker did say that number could possibly go down if more payments come in.
Aker says any sort of federal housing aid right now would be beneficial. Aker says that money would go to existing programs such as the Emergency Solutions Grant from the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development.
“We presume we would be working with our state partners to provide our residents access to those resources”
Senator Bennet says there aren’t any Republicans on board with this legislation right now, but back in 2019, Bennet introduced legislation aimed at limiting evictions with Ohio Republican Rob Portman. Bennet hopes this could bring republicans on board.
“That legislation has been bipartisan I’m pleased to say,” said Bennet. “I’m hopeful that we can find some republican colleagues who have worked on that legislation to help us work on this.”