ACT NOW: Contact the House and Senate to Pass Emergency Funding for Fair Housing and Homeowner Assistance!
Congress is rapidly drafting the next COVID-19 relief and stimulus package, providing much needed support for food assistance, vaccinations, and renter and homelessness relief. However, the proposed package does not include emergency fair housing enforcement and education funding or funding for a Housing Assistance Fund to provide direct payments to homeowners at risk of foreclosure. These resources are key elements of an equitable relief package that must be included in this round to avoid massive loss of wealth in communities of color and address head on the discrimination fair housing advocates are observing across the nation. It is up to us to call on Congress to include a minimum of $75 billion for a Housing Assistance Fund and $39.7 million in emergency fair housing funding to address rising COVID-related discrimination levels.
More than 10 million homeowners are behind on payments, and homeowners of color face a greater risk of losing their homes. While many loans are in forbearance, of the 2.8 million borrowers in active forbearance as of the end of December, 25 percent were private-label loans with no guaranteed method of bringing their loan current at the end of forbearance. Failure to provide targeted assistance to help homeowners become current on their mortgages will result in a massive drain of wealth from communities of color, many of which have not yet even recovered from the 2008 foreclosure crisis.
Simultaneously, local fair housing organizations are inundated with calls from renters at risk of eviction and homeowners at risk of foreclosure – the majority of whom are people of color and families with children. These organizations are also seeing a seismic shift in the way the housing industry operates and are observing novel forms of housing discrimination and segregation, as business practices continue to change as a result of the pandemic and its associated risks.
Among the systemic issues fair housing organizations are observing on the ground are:
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