Chairman Price, Whip Clyburn, Rep. Clarke and Rep. Khanna Secure Funding for Eviction Prevention Demonstration Program in FY21 Government Funding Package
Washington, DC (December 22, 2020) -- Congressman David Price (NC-04), Chairman of the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Subcommittee, Majority Whip James E. Clyburn (SC-06), Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke (NY-09), and Congressman Ro Khanna (CA-17) released a statement after securing $20 million for a new eviction prevention demonstration program in the Fiscal Year 2021 omnibus funding package. The program is based on language from the Legal Assistance to Prevent Evictions Act of 2020 (H.R. 5884) that was introduced by Majority Whip Clyburn, Chairman Price, Congresswoman Clarke, and Congressman Khanna. This bill would establish a competitive grant program for nonprofit and government entities providing legal assistance at no cost to eligible tenants facing eviction.
“Evictions destabilize and upend peoples’ lives, making it even harder to maintain credit and secure stable housing in the future. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the ramifications are even more dire,” said Chairman David Price. “It is impossible to curb the spread of this virus without addressing housing insecurity. People of color and households with children are disproportionately impacted by lost wages, leaving some of our country’s most vulnerable populations unable to meet basic housing expenses.
“While the COVID relief package includes $25 billion for vital rental assistance, for some individuals this relief may prove inadequate. The $20 million designated for a new eviction prevention demonstration program as proposed in the Legal Assistance to Prevent Evictions Act seeks to empower local organizations and bolster innovative approaches in areas that have high eviction rates, including pre-trial activities and alternative dispute resolution that can benefit both renters and property owners. This is a good first step, and will hopefully create a blueprint for additional intervention and support in the future. I will continue to advocate for programs that protect Americans from eviction and help move the country towards a just recovery.”
“We began working on this legislation well before the pandemic exacerbated the already growing affordable housing crisis,” said Majority Whip James Clyburn. This pilot program is especially critical for my home state of South Carolina which, according to a Princeton University study, had the highest eviction rate in the nation prior to COVID-19. Access to legal counsel will provide much-needed protections for families to help keep them in their homes, providing the stability and security that is essential for all people.
“With hospitalizations rising across the country and the vaccine around the corner, now more than ever we must take all measures necessary to stop the transmission of this virus and keep people safe. Evictions not only destabilize families, but in the context of the pandemic they also represent an acute threat to public health,” said Congresswoman Yvette Clarke. In no uncertain terms, we have a moral and logistical imperative to end evictions however we can. The Legal Assistance to Prevent Evictions Act will help us do just that. In New York City we have seen the impact that legal representation and administrative flexibility can have on the eviction rate. This bill will provide much needed resources to allow more nonprofits and local governments to experiment with new ways to avoid a wave of evictions. In doing so, we will not only stabilize a number of families at risk of losing their homes but we will also help protect those at risk of serious health complications at the hands of the virus.”
“No one should be forced out of their home in the middle of a global pandemic,” said. Rep. Ro Khanna. “Whip Clyburn has been a pivotal moral leader on this issue. Thankful to see our important legislation included in the omnibus, but we still have a long way to go in order to truly make housing a human right in this country. With millions of Americans again staring down the threat of eviction at the end of January, this is an essential first step to put in place. But, again, this is a lifeline not a solution.”
The $20 million for the eviction prevention demonstration program is included as part of the $77.5 million Housing Counseling program in the FY2021 omnibus funding package.
A full summary of the Transportation and Housing portion of the FY21 omnibus funding bill can be found here.