Lawmakers propose Housing Assistance Fund to prevent foreclosures, evictions during pandemic

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WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) ─ Senate Democrats are proposing a $75 billion Housing Assistance Fund to help Americans avoid foreclosures and evictions throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

Sen. Jack Reed, D-Rhode Island, said it’s important now more than ever that lawmakers ensure Americans have a place not only to self-quarantine – but to live.

He argues that if missed mortgage and rent payments lead to foreclosures and evictions, “it will delay us from bouncing back from this recession.”

The Housing Assistance Fund would provide every housing authority in the United States funding that will allow them to help their residents during a time of financial uncertainty.

But Rep. John Katko, R-New York, said Congress has already addressed this issue and the funds should be used elsewhere.

“There’s already forbearance for up to 120 days for people who pay their rents and mortgages,” Katko explained.

He said he wants to ensure landlords and mortgage lenders aren’t left footing the bill.

“If they can’t pay their bills because individuals aren’t obligated to pay their mortgages or pay their rent, you’re going to see the housing stock, especially for lower-income Americans, go through the toilet.”

Rejane Frederick with the Center for American Progress said the more Congress can provide renters, homeowners and landlords, the better it will be.

“As critical as the CARES Act was, the funding was really insufficient. It ran out quickly,” Frederick said. “where we see some of the struggle mosts is in the housing world.

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