The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has announced a new round of CARES Act funding to help keep low-income families housed during the coronavirus crisis. The $472 million in emergency funding can be used by public housing authorities across the country to assist families through the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher and Mainstream voucher programs.
The move adds to a raft of government relief measures designed to stave off a housing disaster for multifamily renters and landlords as tens of millions of Americans remain unemployed. HUD has unveiled a series of CARES Act funding rounds since the more than $2 trillion bill was signed into law on March 27.
HUD Secretary Ben Carson said in a statement that the new allocation of funds will provide additional resources to ensure that people have decent, safe and affordable homes. The funds can be used to support a variety of coronavirus-related activities, including procuring cleaning supplies and services to maintain sanitary HCV units; relocating families to health units for testing, hospitalization or quarantine; and incentive or retention costs to retain or boost owner participation in the HCV program.
The $472 million in fresh funding can also be used to support the staff of public housing authorities by covering childcare costs that would not have been incurred but for pandemic-related circumstances such as school closings and overtime work.
Rental relief program gets a boost
The HVC program, the nation’s largest federal rental assistance program, is designed to help very low-income families, the elderly and the disabled find affordable housing in the private market. Vouchers are administered locally by PHA and families are responsible for finding a suitable rental unit in a participating community.
The program assisted more than 5 million people across 2.2 million low-income households as of January 2019, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. The Mainstream voucher program, which also benefits from the latest funding round, assists non-elderly people with disabilities.
On Aug. 3, HUD announced another CARES Act allocation by awarding more than $74 million in grants to a dozen state housing finance agencies to support rental housing for extremely low-income people with disabilities.