By Stacy M. Brown
NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
The White House last week announced commitments from major companies, nonprofits, and government agencies to continue an all-out push to make sure tenants and landlords take advantage of federal rental assistance to help cover rent, utilities, and other housing costs and keep people in their homes.
According to a Fact Sheet released by the White House, the action could help reach tens of millions of Americans.
Officials noted that the continued call to action coincides with the launch of a new rental assistance finder produced by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).
Anyone behind on rent can go to ConsumerFinance.gov/RentHelp and input information on their location to find local rental assistance programs in their area and apply for assistance.
“Thanks to the American Rescue Plan, billions of dollars in federal rental assistance is available to renters who are behind on housing costs, as well as landlords who have struggled during the pandemic,” White House officials wrote in the Fact Sheet.
“The Administration is building on a whole-of-government effort and engaging a wide variety of stakeholders to spread awareness of the CFPB’s new tool, as well as the resources available to assist tenants and landlords.”
Emergency rental assistance is available to tenants in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., territories, and in Tribal areas, and will continue to be available after the expiration of the CDC eviction moratorium on August 1, 2021.
The White House said the continued “Call to Action builds on the groundwork laid over the past several months by the Administration to engage renters and landlords, including hosting two virtual convenings with thousands of participants to share best practices on eviction prevention and build local plans of action, streamline guidance for the rental assistance program to make it easier and more efficient, and engage agencies across the federal government to help get the word out to households in need.”
For more general information about the Emergency Rental Assistance program, individuals can visit the unified federal housing assistance portal hosted by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Agencies across the federal government, non-profit groups, faith-based organizations, and private sector companies are responding to the Biden-Harris Administration’s call to action to raise awareness, the White House added.
“We expect that these efforts will reach tens of millions of Americans,” officials stated.
Private sector and non-profit commitments include PayPal, Square, Inc., GoFundMe, Lyft, Avail, and Propel.
Additionally, the National Apartment Association will send an alert to their 90,000 members nationwide and the National Multifamily Housing Coalition will share the CFPB tool with their 10,000 members through emails and a newsletter.
The National Low Income Housing Coalition plans to include a link to the CFPB tool on their website, place an article about the tool and emergency rental assistance in their newsletter which is distributed to 135,000 people, and will brief stakeholders on their weekly call.
United Way, the Arc, Children’s Defense Fund, Operation HOPE, Bread for the World, and others also are aiding.
Federal agencies including the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Health and Human Services, the CDC, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, and others also have made commitments.
“The Census Bureau will share the CFPB tool and information on emergency rental assistance with members of their Census Counts and States Count lists,” officials stated.
“The Census Counts list includes over 60 national organizations with a deep investment in meeting the needs of marginalized communities and the States Count list includes partners in all 50 states plus the District of Columbia.”