WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV) announced her co-sponsorship of 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 economic fallout.
“The coronavirus pandemic is making it more difficult for families to access affordable housing in Nevada,” said Senator Rosen. “Nevada families now face an even greater challenge as they work to keep their homes during this public health crisis. Our legislation would help NeighborWorks America support housing counseling services across the country so that families have resources to navigate their housing options during the pandemic and beyond. I will continue fighting in Congress to ensure that Nevadans and all Americans have the resources they need in these challenging times.”
BACKGROUND: According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, more than 4.2 million homeowners have entered foreclosure prevention plans since the end of March.
Low-income and minority households have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic and economic fallout. According to a Census Household Survey taken between June 4 and June 9, 12.43% of Hispanic households and 12.74% of Black households were not able to pay their mortgage, compared to 5.71% of white households. Additionally, 23.27% of Hispanic households and 25.77% of Black households were unable to pay their rent, compared to 11.78% of white households.
HUD-approved housing counseling agencies provide individual counseling and education services to help consumers avoid foreclosure and eviction, purchase a home, secure affordable rental housing, and develop sustainable budgets. They can be especially important during an economic crisis. According to a 2018 report from NeighborWorks America, households that utilized the National Foreclosure Mitigation Counseling Program through a housing counseling agency during the Great Recession were three times more likely to receive loan modifications and less likely to go into foreclosure or re-default on their home loans compared to those who did not.
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 legislation;
- And require 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.