When Congress passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act in late December, renter advocates and housing providers achieved a long-fought, milestone win with $25 billion going toward the newly created Emergency Rental Assistance program. The legislation uniquely unites renters and landlords together with funds to keep at-risk renters in their homes while also protecting property owners from losing their businesses.

Renter distress was a crisis that long pre-dates the pandemic – a problem largely ignored by policymakers until COVID-19 brought it to the forefront. Lawmakers initially responded with eviction bans, but that quickly backfired on both landlords and renters. Eviction bans crushed some small business property owners (particularly in big coastal cities) who struggled to pay their own bills when renters couldn’t pay the rent. Additionally, eviction bans severely limited available housing supply for lower-income households needing a safe place to live – exposing chronic underfunding of affordable housing by governments at every level.

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