Congressman Cleaver Calls on Biden Administration to Immediately Issue Guidance on Rental Assistance, Strengthen Eviction Moratorium

Jan 19, 2021
Press Release

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, United States Representative Emanuel Cleaver, II (D-MO) called on President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris to strengthen the national moratorium on evictions, prioritize the disbursement of rental assistance provided by the latest COVID-19 relief package passed by Congress, and provide guidance on how this funding should be utilized by states and municipalities.

In a letter to Ron Klain, Chief of Staff to President-elect Joe Biden, Congressman Cleaver wrote:

“I write to highlight an acute housing issue the administration will likely face as soon as they assume office. Emergency rental assistance funding and guidance has yet to be issued by the outgoing administration to state and local governments. The Department of Treasury must disburse these funds and issue guidance quickly to prevent a housing displacement crisis. Many in my district are facing eviction during this pandemic and require the swift intervention of the incoming administration to avert a potentially devastating outcome.”

On December 21, 2020, Congress passed an emergency relief package to address the ongoing coronavirus-induced economic crisis. Included in the bill was $25 billion in emergency rental assistance for states and localities across the nation, of which Missouri is slated to receive $408 million. Unfortunately, the Treasury Department has failed to distribute these desperately-needed funds, notify localities of how much funding they will receive, or provide guidance for what guidelines states and localities will need to adhere to in order to receive funding. In order to avoid a housing displacement crisis, Congressman Cleaver believes it is critical for the Biden Administration to prioritize the administration of rental assistance as soon as the President-elect is sworn in.

Additionally, Congressman Cleaver is calling on the Biden Administration to provide guidance that would strengthen the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) eviction moratorium, as some local courts have allowed evictions to continue.

In the letter, Congressman Cleaver continued:

“This act of clarity is even more urgent as some local courts, including some in my district, continue to pursue evictions in conflict with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) moratorium. I informed the Trump Administration’s Justice Department, Department of Housing and Urban Development, and CDC of this shortcoming that required intervention months ago. I highlighted that, possibly due to insufficient specificity in policy guidance or misreading/misinterpretation by jurisdictions, some courts have inconsistently interpreted the CDC order allowing evictions during the pandemic to persist…Where they have failed, I am eager to work with the incoming administration to ensure it will succeed.”

You can find the official letter from Congressman Cleaver here.

Emanuel Cleaver, II is the U.S. Representative for Missouri's Fifth Congressional District, which includes Kansas City, Independence, Lee's Summit, Raytown, Grandview, Sugar Creek, Blue Springs, Grain Valley, Oak Grove, North Kansas City, Gladstone, Claycomo, and all of Ray, Lafayette, and Saline Counties. He is a member of the exclusive House Financial Services Committee; Chairman of the House Subcommittee on National Security, International Development, and Monetary Policy; member of the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress; member of the Committee on Homeland Security; and a Senior Whip of the Democratic Caucus. For more information, please contact Matt Helfant at 202-590-0175 or Matthew.Helfant@mail.house.gov A high-resolution photo of Congressman Cleaver is available here.