The third in a series of virtual listening sessions, this panel included subject matter experts that shared their views on the effectiveness and efficiency of pandemic response programs related to housing.
The PRAC’s Financial Sector Oversight workgroup has organized a series of virtual panels with stakeholders to gather input and insights on the operation, efficiency, and effectiveness of CARES Act programs and the pandemic response efforts of the federal government and the Federal Reserve. Workgroup members also want to hear suggestions and ideas for areas that would benefit from enhanced oversight. Members of the PRAC’s Financial Sector Oversight Workgroup are inspectors general (IGs) responsible for the oversight of banking, lending, and housing programs.
Pandemic response programs related to housing include:
- Housing assistance: $12 billion to provide funding to housing programs for the homeless, persons with AIDS, tribal programs, rental assistance, and programs for the elderly and disabled. The CARES Act provides additional protections to the public related to eviction moratoriums. The CARES Act also provides the borrower the option to suspend mortgage payment - called forbearance - for up to twelve months.
- Emergency Rental Assistance Program: $25 billion to assist households that are unable to pay rent and utilities due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The funds are provided directly to States, U.S. Territories, local governments, and Indian tribes.
Items covered in the discussion:
- How effective the moratoria on eviction and foreclosure have been to stabilize housing and provide the intended housing assistance to low- and moderate-income individuals and families
- Federal agencies’ role in helping state and local government and organizations to provide effective assistance to renters, homeowners, the homeless, and other at-risk populations
- Future effects on housing stemming from the pandemic and pandemic recovery efforts
- Recommendations to improve pandemic response housing programs, as well as fraud, waste, and abuse in housing programs.
Event Overview and Summary
Moderators Rae Oliver Davis, Inspector General for the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and Brian D. Miller, Special Inspector General for Pandemic Recovery, provided opening remarks. Rae Oliver Davis and Brian Miller provided closing remarks.
“Much of the outreach and information wasn’t available in different languages and so many missed out on the opportunity to take advantage of these provisions…it results in homeowners and renters particularly in low to moderate income communities and communities of color being disproportionately negatively impacted.”
– Marietta Rodriguez
“If we want people to be able to access government help, particularly at times of financial distress, we need to make the programs relatively simple and accessible, and unfortunately that’s a lesson I think we haven’t applied to the pandemic relief programs effectively enough. A number of the programs have really had a relatively high administrative burden for both households to access and in some cases also for local governments to administer.”
– Jenny Schuetz
“The $900 billion relief package that was passed in December will help some 3.5 million renters pay back rent and utilities by February and while this is meaningful, it still leaves us with 6.8 million delinquent renters owing an estimated $34 billion dollars.”
– Nani Coloretti
Get perspectives on pandemic relief legislation directly from experts on housing.
- Jenny Schuetz, Senior Fellow- Metropolitan Policy Program, Future of the Middle Class Initiative, Brookings Institution
- Marietta Rodriguez, President and Chief Executive Officer, NeighborWorks America
- Nani Coloretti, Senior Vice President for Financial and Business Strategy and Treasurer, Urban Institute