Congress answers Habitat’s call, providing nearly $10 billion in emergency mortgage payment assistance for low-income homeowners
ATLANTA (March 10, 2021) — Habitat for Humanity is applauding Congress for responding to its call for emergency mortgage assistance for low-income homeowners. The House and Senate included nearly $10 billion in mortgage payment support in the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, which now moves to the president’s desk for signature.
“Millions of American families have lost income during this pandemic through no fault of their own, putting them at real risk of falling behind on their housing payments,” said Jonathan T.M. Reckford, CEO of Habitat for Humanity International. “Mortgage payment assistance for low-income homeowners, coupled with the ongoing foreclosure moratoriums, will help families stay safe in their homes. With vaccines rolling out and an economic rebound on the horizon, this payment assistance will provide a vital bridge to a more secure future. We are thankful that Congress has answered our call for support for low-income homeowners.”
Habitat has regularly applauded actions to implement and extend foreclosure moratoriums but has also argued that the foreclosure protections must be paired with emergency mortgage payment assistance to provide true housing stability. Habitat supporters, through the Cost of Home campaign, have sent thousands of messages to their congressional representatives calling for this assistance.
In December, Reckford specifically called on Congress to include the needs of low-income homeowners in further relief packages, noting at the time that, “there is not enough in this legislation for low-income homeowners who face the threat of foreclosure.” Reckford also argued for this funding in a December op-ed, writing, “What we actually need — and need immediately — is direct housing payment assistance, that will let families stay in their homes and landlords and lenders stay whole.”
The legislation, which is expected to be signed by President Biden, includes several other housing provisions that Habitat supported, including $21 billion for state and local emergency rental assistance programs, $5 billion for emergency Housing Choice Vouchers, $100 million for housing counseling, and $39 million for the USDA Section 502 and 504 home loan programs.
About Habitat for Humanity
Driven by the vision that everyone needs a decent place to live, Habitat for Humanity began in 1976 as a grassroots effort on a community farm in southern Georgia. The Christian housing organization has since grown to become a leading global nonprofit working in local communities across all 50 states in the U.S. and in more than 70 countries. Families and individuals in need of a hand up partner with Habitat for Humanity to build or improve a place they can call home. Habitat homeowners help build their own homes alongside volunteers and pay an affordable mortgage. Through financial support, volunteering or adding a voice to support affordable housing, everyone can help families achieve the strength, stability and self-reliance they need to build better lives for themselves. Through shelter, we empower. To learn more, visit habitat.org.