NAA Analysis of the American Rescue Plan Act

On March 11, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA). Thank you to the tens of thousands of you who participated in NAA’s calls to action throughout the pandemic and at NAA’s Virtual Advocate Conference this week. You kept Congress’ attention on the critical industry issue of emergency rental assistance and other federal financial relief solutions to prevent evictions and ensure the continued viability of the rental housing industry.

First and foremost, ARPA includes $21.55 billion in dedicated emergency rental assistance funding, which continues federal support of state and local rental assistance programs across the country. Combined with the $25 billion in rental assistance funding allocated in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, these funds are a significant step in closing the growing gap of tens of billions of dollars of outstanding rental debt that have accumulated during the pandemic. Plainly put, the funds are a lifesaver for both renters and housing providers who have been hardest hit.

Additionally, the new law does not extend the federal eviction moratorium that remains in place until March 31. NAA continues its federal advocacy work with Congress and the Administration to stress that extensions or expansions of the CDC’s order are not the right policy solution to the nation’s housing challenges. We steadfastly maintain the importance of balanced and sustainable housing policies to get the rental housing industry through the crisis and beyond.

Learn more about all of the ARPA provisions affecting the industry below.

Emergency Rental Assistance

  • $21.55 billion for emergency rental assistance to remain available until September 30, 2027.
  • $2.5b set aside for "high-need communities".
  • $30 million for admin costs and technical assistance.
  • $3 million for Inspector General oversight.
  • The Secretary must disburse not less than 40 percent of grantees’ allocation within 60 days.
  • Rules for Grantees:
    • Up to 10 percent of grantees’ allocation may be used for housing stability services.
    • Up to 15 percent of grantees’ allocation may be used for administrative costs.
    • Up to 18 months in assistance may be provided per household (Consolidated Appropriations Act (CAA) and American Rescue Plan Act funds combined).
    • For rent, rent arrears, utility costs and arrears and other housing costs as defined by the Treasury Secretary.
    • It does not include the language from CAA that requires grantees to prioritize arrears before forward facing rental payments or that allows housing providers to apply on behalf of residents.
    • Prioritization and eligibility requirements parallel CAA requirements.
    • Includes rules for distribution of unused funds which may be used for affordable housing or eviction prevention purposes.

Emergency Housing

  • $5 billion for emergency Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers, which would be allocated to state and local governments to individuals and families who are currently or recently homeless, and to those fleeing domestic violence, sexual assault or human trafficking.
  • An additional $5 billion to provide supportive services for homelessness and at-risk individuals.
    • Specifically, the funds could be used for tenant-based rental assistance, the development of affordable housing, housing counseling for the homeless and purchasing non-congregate shelter units.

Additional Housing Funding

  • $750 million through tribal grant programs for housing assistance and community development services.
  • $100 million for individuals living in rural Agriculture Department-subsidized properties.
  • $100 million for grants to housing counseling groups.
  • $20 million for fair housing education and enforcement.

State and Local Funding

  • $350 billion for states, localities, tribes and territorial governments to pay for COVID-related expenses and programs.

Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loans

  • $7.25 billion boost to carry out funding of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Second Draw PPP.
  • Both PPP and the Second Draw program are set to end on March 31, 2021.
  • $15 billion in new funding to the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program, $5 billion of which is set aside for businesses with fewer than 10 employees and suffering from no less than 50% revenue loss.

Employee Retention Tax Credit

  • Extends the refundable Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC) for employers through December 31, 2021. The ERTC was previously established in the CARES Act and extended and expanded in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021.

Paid Family and Medical Leave

  • Extends tax credits for family and sick leave first established under Families First Coronavirus Response Act until September 30, 2021.
  • The tax credits have since become voluntary for covered businesses and would now include vaccination appointments and complications due to receiving a vaccine as qualifications for leave.
  • Both the 80-hour per employee sick and 10-week per employee family leave will reset after March 31, 2021. The credit for paid family leave will expand to $12,000 per employee.

Unemployment Benefits

  • Received a six-month extension until September 6, 2021 and an additional $300 per week for individuals receiving unemployment benefits.
  • Several programs for those unable to obtain state unemployment benefits have received extensions, as well.
  • Up to $10,200 in tax breaks for individuals making less than $150,000 who received unemployment benefits in 2020.

Economic Stimulus Payment

  • Individuals making less than $75,000 or married couples making less than $150,000 will receive $1,400 per eligible individual and dependent.
  • Dependent criteria also expanded to include any individual claiming dependence on the filer. This includes students over the age of 17 and qualifying relatives.

Child Tax Credit

  • Makes the Child Tax Credit fully refundable for 2021 and expands qualification to children under the age of 17.
  • Increased credit to $3,000 and $3,600 for children under the age of 6.
  • Individuals who earn less than $75,000 annually or married couples earning $150,000 annually may take advantage of the full credit.
  • The credit is reduced $50 per child for each addition $1,000 of gross income earned.