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Velazquez Seeks Housing Relief During COVID-19 Crisis

Velazquez Seeks Housing Relief During COVID-19 Crisis
March 23, 2020
Press Release

Washington, DC – Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY) has authored legislation that would temporarily suspend during the coronavirus emergency rent contributions owed by tenants living in public housing or those who receive Section 8 vouchers.  

“During crises like the current one, it is always the most vulnerable who bear the greatest cost and endure the most hardship,” Velázquez said. “Every day, I’m hearing from out-of-work New Yorkers, families, seniors and others who worry about eviction or falling behind on rent.  This legislation would ensure many of our neighbors who receive federal housing assistance won’t miss rent payments as our nation and city continue navigating these twin economic and public health emergencies.”  

The ‘‘Ensuring Affordable Housing Security During the Coronavirus Emergency Act" would suspend rental payments for anyone participating in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s affordable housing programs. The legislation also authorizes the federal government to provide funding to landlords and Public Housing Authorities to compensate for the loss in rental payments from tenants during the outbreak.  The bill would also prevent tenants’ credit histories or credit scores from being harmed because of the suspension of rental payments. 

“Through no fault of their own, New Yorkers and Americans across the country are facing challenges making rent, right now,” Velázquez added. “Not only must we quickly channel help to those struggling in the short term, but, once this finally passes, we must also be certain their financial future isn’t forever hampered from damaged credit. This bill will hold harmless our most vulnerable neighbors as they weather the economic storm brought on by COVID-19.”
 
Velázquez, a senior member of the House Financial Services Committee, is the highest-ranking New Yorker on that panel’s Housing Subcommittee.  

The New York City Housing Authority is the largest public housing authority in the nation. One in fifteen New Yorkers or more than 170,000 families reside in NYCHA developments.  Separately, the Section 8 program provides vouchers to tenants assisting them with rent. NYCHA oversees the largest Section 8 program in the country with more than 185,000 Section 8 tenants living throughout the five boroughs.  The city's Department of Housing Preservation and Development also administers Section 8, serving over 39,000 households throughout the city via its housing choice voucher program.

Velázquez’ bill is online here.