Las Vegas, Nev. – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) joined Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) in introducing the Coronavirus Housing Counseling Improvement Act, legislation that would expand access to critical information, assistance programs and services for millions of families struggling to remain in their homes because of the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic fallout. Specifically, this legislation 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. The bill also requires that no less than 40 percent of the $700 million fund be targeted to counseling organizations that serve minority and low-income homeowners and renters.
“People across Nevada have had their lives upended by the coronavirus crisis, and in this pandemic, housing is health care. We need to do everything we can to ensure Nevadans, especially those in communities that are disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, have the information and resources they need to navigate their housing options during the COVID-19 crisis. This bill to support housing counseling services would help us achieve that goal and keep people in their homes.”
Experts estimate that Nevada is going to need nearly $850 million in rental assistance to keep families housed this year. Senator Cortez Masto is a strong advocate for expanding access to affordable housing and ensuring support for homeowners and renters. The Senator cosponsored legislation, the Emergency Rental Assistance and Rental Market Stabilization Act of 2020, to establish an Emergency Rental Assistance program to provide $100 billion in emergency rental assistance to help families and individuals pay their rent and remain housed during and after the COVID-19 crisis. Earlier this month, she pressed Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson to outline what HUD is doing to help Americans who are suffering due to the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. She has also called on Senate leadership to address the urgent housing needs of domestic and sexual violence survivors.