The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) 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 (HCV) 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 (PHA) 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.