WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Dwight Evans (PA-03) is pushing to include substantial renter and homeowner aid in a potential congressional COVID-19 relief deal.
On Thursday Evans released his “Making Housing Matter” plan, which would provide both immediate relief and long-term funding.
“We have thousands of renters and homeowners in Philadelphia alone who need help now, and that problem is magnified at the state and national level,” Evans said. “The pandemic has worsened the housing and homelessness crisis we already had before the coronavirus, so we also need to make changes for the long term.”
House Democrats passed a sweeping COVID relief bill, the Heroes Act, on May 15. Republican Senate leaders have not brought that bill up for a vote or been able to pass a relief bill of their own.
State Rep. Stephen Kinsey (D-Phila.) chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, and the PLBC are endorsing Evans’ plan.
“Congressman Evans’ plan would make a huge positive difference across Pennsylvania in both the short and long term,” Kinsey said. “This federal plan complements the assistance that we’re fighting for in Harrisburg with the Safe At Home package of bills. Our PLBC members are working at the state level to expand and protect rent and mortgage assistance programs, ensure legal representation for low-income renters, and help small-business landlords serve their communities, among other housing priorities.”
City Councilmember Katherine Gilmore Richardson introduced a resolution Thursday demanding that the Senate respond to Evans’ call to action and provide immediate housing relief.
In a prepared statement Gilmore Richardson said, “Bold federal action to help struggling renters and homeowners is badly needed. For many Philadelphians, Congressman Evans’ plan would mean the difference between being able to stay in their homes or being out on the street this fall and winter. I’m introducing a resolution in Council calling on Senator Toomey and Senate Republicans to join the House and pass real relief now!”
Evans’ plan is also supported by the Philadelphia Housing Authority, Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia, Philadelphia Association of Community Development Corporations, Regional Housing Legal Services, Project HOME, LISC Philadelphia, Rebuilding Together Philadelphia, Community Legal Services, the Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation, the Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency.
Evans represents Pennsylvania’s 3rd Congressional District, which includes Northwest and West Philadelphia and parts of North, South, Southwest and Center City Philadelphia.