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President Biden halts residential evictions for USDA multifamily housing communities

03 February 2021
USDA

The Biden administration has put a moratorium on residential evictions in USDA multifamily housing, following CDC guidance.

In one of his first acts in office, President Joe Biden requested federal agencies to extend the eviction and foreclosure moratorium for millions of Americans impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. In response, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) extended the eviction and foreclosure moratorium to affected multifamily housing residents through 31 March 2021. This halt in residential evictions allows the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to extend relief to the tens-of-thousands of Americans who rely on USDA-supported multifamily housing communities.

“USDA recognises that the COVID-19 pandemic has triggered an almost unprecedented housing affordability crisis in the United States. That’s why USDA is taking this important action today to extend rental relief to the tens-of-thousands of individuals in USDA-supported multifamily housing communities,” said USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development Justin Maxson. “Currently, more than 40,000 tenants are rent overburdened, paying more than 30 percent of their income in rent. While’s today’s actions are an important step for them, we need to do more. The Biden Administration looks forward to working with Congress to pass the American Rescue Plan to take more robust and aggressive actions to bring additional relief to American families and individuals impacted by the pandemic.”

In a recent Census Bureau survey, 9 million renters (or an estimated 15 percent of all renters) reported being behind on rent. The same survey showed that about 29 percent of Black families and 17 percent of Hispanic renters were behind on rent.

USDA’s Multi-Family Housing Programs provide affordable multi-family rental housing in rural areas by financing projects geared for low-income, elderly and disabled individuals and families as well as domestic farm labourers. USDA extends its reach by guaranteeing loans for affordable rental housing designed for low- to moderate-income residents in rural areas and towns. USDA also provides grants to sponsoring organisations to repair or rehabilitate housing for needy families and subsidises rents for low-income tenants who cannot afford to pay their full rent.

The COVID-19 pandemic has presented a historic threat to our nation's health. Despite extensive mitigation efforts, COVID-19 continues to spread in America at a concerning pace. The pandemic has also exacerbated underlying issues of housing insecurity for many Americans. Keeping people in their homes and out of congregate settings — like shelters — is a key step in helping to stop the spread of COVID-19.

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