New Immediate Housing Bill To Assist Low-Income Earners During Natural and Economic Disasters

The new bill called the Crisis Housing Act aims to help ensure that families and individual who have been forced to leave their home or are at risk of losing their home due to a natural or economic disaster are given immediate access to adequate housing.

Introduced by U.S. Senators Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), the Crisis Housing Act will automatically provide low-income families and individuals with rental assistance from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development when their community experiences: 1. the Stafford Act is invoked during natural disaster, or 2. when the state’s unemployment rate increases by a certain amount.

Housing assistance would be available within one month of when the community is deemed eligible. The assistance will last for at least two years. The program also aims to help families secure permanent housing after the voucher’s expiration.

“Our new bill will make sure that our most vulnerable communities receive housing assistance after a severe storm, public health emergency, or economic downturn, said Schatz. “Too many people in our country are housing insecure, and this is a good first step to building a safety net to support them.”

“From the COVID-19 pandemic to severe weather events, natural and economic disasters often leave our most vulnerable families hardest-hit. In these emergency situations, we need to make sure relief is available fast. This legislation will provide urgent support to help ensure Americans are able to keep a roof over their heads during times of crisis,” Van Hollen added.

The Crisis Housing Act is supported by National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC).

“If passed, the Crisis Housing Act would play a critical role in providing safe, accessible, and affordable homes to individuals with the greatest needs after a disaster by providing longer-term, flexible, rental assistance – helping them safely recover without the fear of being rendered homeless,” said Diane Yentel, President and CEO of the NLIHC.

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