Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) today joined Senators Bob Menendez (D- N.J.) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) in introducing the Coronavirus Housing Counseling Improvement Act, legislation to expand access to housing counseling and assistance services for millions of families still struggling to remain in their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“As Attorney General during the foreclosure crisis in Nevada, I saw firsthand the devastation that families face when they lose their homes—and it’s even more important to keep people housed now. During a pandemic, housing is health care. I’m doing everything I can in the Senate to prevent the coronavirus pandemic from displacing Nevadans, and this bill is a critical piece in supporting everyone in the Silver State working to keep a roof over their heads.”
Senator Cortez Masto has worked to promote affordable housing and fight housing discrimination throughout her time in the Senate. She has voted for all five coronavirus relief packages that have been enacted into law, including most recently the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2020, which provides $25 billion in rental assistance and utility assistance. In 2020, Senator Cortez Masto introduced bills to restore and strengthen fair housing laws, the Housing Fairness Act of 2020, and to increase support for affordable housing, the HOME Investment Partnership Reauthorization Act.
According to an analysis by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 23 million Americans are behind on mortgage or rent payments. The Coronavirus Housing Counseling Improvement Act would provide $700 million for NeighborWorks to support housing counseling services to help homeowners, renters, people experiencing homelessness, and people at risk of homelessness navigate their housing options and rights during the COVID-19 crisis, including protections and resources provided through COVID-19 relief.The bill also requires that no less than 40 percent of the $700 million fund is targeted to counseling organizations that serve minority and low-income homeowners and renters. HUD-approved housing counseling agencies provide individual counseling and education services to help consumers avoid foreclosure and eviction, purchase homes, secure affordable rental housing and develop sustainable budgets.