Big Island Coronavirus Updates

New Federal Rental Assistance Bill Introduced

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Sen. Brian Schatz

New federal legislation has been introduced to provide rental aid to those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

US Senators Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) have announced the Emergency Rental Assistance and Rental Market Stabilization Act of 2020. The bill would establish an Emergency Rental Assistance program to provide $100 billion in emergency rental assistance to help families and individuals pay their rent and remain housed during and after the coronavirus crisis. Stabilizing renters and the rental market through this crisis will help the economy recover from the economic aftershocks of the pandemic.

“Our bill will make sure that Hawai‘i families who are struggling to get by during this crisis can still make their rent and keep the lights on,” said Sen. Schatz, a member of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee. “We have to do everything we can to keep families in their homes.”


Specifically, the bill would accomplish the following things:

  • Authorize $100 billion for an Emergency Rental Assistance program to help families and individuals pay their rent and utility bills and remain housed during and after the COVID-19 crisis.
  • The program would send funds to communities, states and tribes through an existing federal temporary rental assistance program to facilitate the rapid distribution of funds through an already-available administrative and reporting system.

The Senate bill is currently co-sponsored by 24 of Schatz and Brown’s Democratic colleagues. The bill has been endorsed by a diverse list of housing, state and local government, child advocacy, faith, health care, women’s, civil rights, disability rights and social welfare organizations.

These groups include the National Alliance to End Homelessness, National Low Income Housing Coalition, Children’s Defense Fund, US Conference of Mayors, National Association of Counties, National Urban League and National League of Cities.


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