The COVID-19 pandemic has further highlighted how deep our nation's housing crisis is. Working families across the U.S. were paying far too much of their income in rent before this crisis and staggering levels of unemployment are forcing more and more into homelessness. We cannot afford to, nor should we, turn a blind eye to this problem.
Rent Cancellation and Eviction Moratoriums
California is home to some of our nation’s highest-need and most vulnerable renters, many of whom were just one financial crisis away from eviction long before the pandemic. In the wealthiest country in the world, no one should have to worry about losing their home. That's why I introduced the H.R.8327, the Stable Families Act, to establish a permanent National Housing Stabilization Fund and ensure low-income families at risk of eviction receive the financial assistance they need to stay safe and housed.
I also led a letter with 37 members of the California’s Congressional delegation to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen urging the Department of the Treasury to reallocate unused Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERA) funds to states with the highest need for such aid.
In January 2020, I led a letter with 64 of my colleagues to call on President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris to use immediate executive action to extend the national eviction moratorium for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic. Congress left for recess in August 2021 just as the national eviction moratorium was set to expire, leaving millions of renters were at risk of being evicted. My Progressive colleagues and I stayed behind, slept on the steps of the Capitol, organized, and successfully called on the Biden administration to extend the federal eviction moratorium.
I'm an original cosponsor of H.R. 1847, the Rent and Mortgage Cancellation Act, which would cancel rent and mortgage payments nationwide through the end of the COVID-19 pandemic and establish a relief fund for landlords and mortgage holders to cover the losses of cancelled payments.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, delivering direct rent relief to California has been a top priority of mine. Through Congress' relief bill in December 2020, I helped secure $2.6 billion in rental assistance for the state, and through the American Rescue Plan Act, I helped secure $235 million in rental assistance for the City of Los Angeles.
I introduced H.R. 2169, the Rent Relief Act of 2022 to help families earning stagnant wages while their rent increases. This bill creates a refundable tax credit for families who earn up to $100,000 a year and spend 30 percent or more of their income on rent and utilities. This monthly benefit would help families in high-cost cities like Los Angeles and assist those living in government-subsidized housing.
Opportunity Starts at Home Act
As the ongoing COVID-19 crisis has worsened our homelessness problem, I introduced H.R. 7351, the Opportunity Starts at Home Act, a bill that was included in House Democrats' transformational infrastructure package, H.R. 2, the Moving Forward Act. My bill would create a new tax credit for affordable housing projects financed by the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) that incentivizes providing supportive services to our vulnerable populations. These permanent supportive services - like healthcare, coordination of benefits, job search assistance and training, financial counseling, and more - are a proven investment necessary to combat chronic homelessness nationwide.
Stable SSI Benefits and Housing Assistance Act
I also introduced H.R. 6028, the Stable SSI Benefits and Housing Assistance Act. This bill would ensure that individuals receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) do not lose their benefits simply because they receive relocation assistance due to a no-fault eviction.
Affordable Housing and Homelessness
I secured over $11 million in federal funding to invest in affordable housing projects in my district, including $1.5 million for an affordable housing project in Chinatown serving low-income individuals, families, and seniors.
I cosponsored H.R. 1978, the Fighting Homelessness Through Services and Housing Act, endorsed by the U.S. Conference of Mayors, to allocate $750 million annually for five years to fund supportive housing models and permanent services that local and tribal governments have proven work.
I also cosponsored H.R. 3077, the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act of 2019, which would expand the LIHTC by 50% and pave the way for countless new affordable housing units nationwide.