On June 29, Senator Menendez (D-NJ) and Banking Committee Ranking Member Brown (D-OH) introduced the Coronavirus Housing Counseling Improvement Act, S. 4098.

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. The legislation also requires 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.

The bill is co-sponsored by Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.),Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Cory Booker (D.N.J.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.),  Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) and Mark Warner (D-Vir.).

“Millions of families across our country – already suffering through job and income loss — are now living in fear that in a matter of weeks or months, they will be facing down foreclosure, eviction and even homelessness,” said Sen. Menendez. “Knowledge is power. Along with fighting for more federal assistance and protections – we’ve got to expand access to housing counseling so that these individuals and families can get help in finding affordable ways to stay in their homes.”

“Losing a home to foreclosure or eviction turns a family’s life upside down,” said Sen. Brown. “During a pandemic, it also puts their health at risk. Providing vital funding to housing counselors will ensure that homeowners and renters – especially Black and brown homeowners and renters who have been hardest hit by this pandemic – have the tools and support they need to navigate our nation’s complex housing system.”

This legislation is supported by the Mortgage Bankers Association, the National Association of Realtors, the Center for Responsible Lending, the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, the National Urban League, and the National Housing Resource Center.

NHRC worked closely with both offices on the legislative language of the bill and we are beyond thrilled for its introduction. Thank you to all the advocates and partner organizations who reached out to their Senators asking for housing counseling funding support. We greatly appreciate your efforts!

You may read Senator Menendez’s press release here: https://www.menendez.senate.gov/news-and-events/press/sens-menendez-brown-introduce-bill-to-support-homeowners-renters-struggling-amid-covid-19-pandemic-and-economic-fallout

Ways to advocate:

  1. Reach out to Your Senators: Ask them to join the legislation as a cosponsor.
  2. Tell them what you are hearing from renters and homeowners in your communities and why housing counselors are vital to the overall economic security and post-covid recovery of your delegation’s districts.
  3. Provide them with data on how many people you are helping during this time and show them evidence of how you are directly helping constituents.