Rep. Axne’s COVID-19 Housing Relief Priorities Advance with Financial Services Committee Relief Bill

February 11, 2021
Press Release
Two Axne-championed funding measures to help keep Iowans in their homes will be included in House COVID-19 relief package

Today, the House Financial Services Committee advanced their portion of the next coronavirus (COVID-19) relief package with multiple funding priorities championed by Rep. Cindy Axne (IA-03).

The package includes $25 billion of emergency rental assistance, $10 billion to support homeowners, and $5 billion to support people experiencing homelessness, including funding for housing counseling services and rural rental assistance ­­– two programs that Rep. Axne sought to fund through legislation over the past year.

“Surviving this pandemic and dealing with its economic fallout is impossible without a roof over your head. That’s why I’ve worked to increase support for programs that will help keep Iowans in their homes – both by providing support for our rural renters and housing counselors whose advice could make the difference for Iowa families trying to make ends meet,” said Rep. Axne, a member of the House Financial Services Committee’s Subcommittee on Housing, Community Development, and Insurance. “I’m proud of my vote today to advance these investments and billions of dollars for additional assistance for Iowa’s families and communities, and look forward to advancing another much-needed COVID-19 relief bill that will support Iowans still impacted by this crisis.”

The legislation advanced by Rep. Axne and the Financial Services Committee today contains $100 million for housing counseling services through the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation (NeighborWorks). These housing counselors can provide advice for Iowans who need help with housing costs, loan modifications, and preventing foreclosure. This effort is modeled after a similar program created in 2008 to address the impacts of the global financial crisis, which provided housing counseling to more than two million Americans, who were then three times as likely to get loan modifications, and less likely to go into foreclosure. 

Last year, Rep. Axne introduced the Coronavirus Housing Counseling Support Act to increase access to housing counselors during and after the pandemic.

Rep. Axne’s Protect Rural Renters Act was introduced last May to support rural renters struggling to cover their housing expenses through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Section 515 and Section 521 rental housing programs, which help elderly and low-income Americans in rural areas find rental housing and stay in their homes.

A similar provision, championed by Rep. Axne, was included in the Financial Services Committee package, and appropriates $100 million for USDA rental assistance through Sections 514, 515, 516, and 521.

The House Financial Services Committee legislation also includes:

  • $10 billion to support the production of emergency medical equipment using the Defense Production Act
  • $10 billion to support small businesses

Both pieces of legislation were originally introduced by Rep. Axne last spring. The House passed both bills last June in a legislative package of bills focused on housing protections.