As the COVID-19 pandemic wears on, more and more workers across the country are finding themselves unemployed and without steady income. That's caused a litany of problems — including challenges for millions of tenants struggling to make rent and utility payments without sufficient income.

Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown today announced he is introducing a bill called the Emergency Rental Assistance and Rental Market Stabilization Act aimed specifically at those renters.

"We cannot leave behind the millions of Americans who could be facing eviction without rent relief now," Brown said today in a series of tweets. "The last thing we want during a public health crisis is people being forced out of their homes and onto the streets."

The proposed $100 billion aid package would be be disbursed via the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's existing Emergency Solutions Grant network, meaning that local service providers would administer the funds. Those grants are usually used to provide assistance to those experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness.

The bill doesn't set forth strict income eligibility limits, but HUD will be directed to spend 40 percent of the money on families making extremely low incomes (less than 30 percent of the Area Median Income).
Seventy percent of the fund would be spent on those households plus those making less than 50 percent of AMI, or less than $26,000 a year for a single person in Cleveland.

HUD would be directed to spend the remaining 30 percent on households making up to 80 percent of AMI, or about $40,000 for a single person in Cleveland. But HUD can also grant waivers for areas with a number of households above those thresholds if they are struggling economically — up to 120 percent AMI.

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