Rep. Pressley’s Emergency Homelessness Assistance Act Signed Into Law as Part of American Rescue Plan

March 11, 2021
Press Release
Legislation Provides $5 Billion to Support Families Experiencing Homelessness

WASHINGTON – Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) issued the following statement on the enactment of her Emergency Homelessness Assistance Act, which was signed into law today by President Biden as part of the American Rescue Plan.

The legislation authorizes $5 billion for the Emergency Solutions Grants program to enable state and local governments to finance housing and health-related services for the hundreds of thousands of people currently experiencing homelessness, including the acquisition of hotels and motels to serve as transitional and permanent supportive housing.

“Housing is a critical determinant of public health, and that has never been more true than during this ongoing public health and economic crisis,” Rep. Pressley said. “That’s why I’m encouraged that my Emergency Homelessness Assistance Act, which I’ve been fighting for since the onset of this pandemic, was signed into law today by President Biden. This critical provision will invest nearly $5 billion to support the hundreds of thousands of vulnerable families and individuals nationwide who are currently experiencing homelessness. I am grateful to Chairwoman Waters and Representatives Tlaib, Ocasio-Cortez and Neguse for their partnership in getting this across the finish line.”

Experts estimate that $5 billion in additional resources is critical to help communities across the country provide safe and secure shelter for those experiencing homelessness. This provision is responsive to the needs of community and advocates and will provide cities and states the flexibility needed to make long term investments to combat the housing crisis including the conversion of hotels and motels into non-congregate shelters.

From the onset of the pandemic, Congresswoman Pressley has fought tirelessly to provide robust investments to combat the housing crisis and strengthen housing protections for families in Massachusetts and across the nation.

  • On March 18, Reps. Pressley, Katie Porter (D-CA) and Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) wrote to HUD calling or a moratorium on evicting renters during the coronavirus pandemic.
  • On March 19, Rep. Pressley, along with progressive lawmakers and organizations, introduced the Housing is a Human Right Act to authorize more than $200 billion in federal spending over 10 years for crucial housing infrastructure and reduce homelessness.
  • On March 23, Reps. Pressley and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) introduced the Public Health Emergency Shelter Act of 2020, legislation to provide critical funding to states and local governments responding to the needs of families and individuals experiencing homelessness during the COVID-19 crisis. This legislation was included and passed through the HEROES Act and H.R. 7301, the Emergency Housing Protections and Relief Act of 2020.
  • On April 10, Rep. Pressley urged Congressional leadership to prioritize recurring monthly cash payments to those most at-risk during the COVID-19 crisis. This funding would allow people to cover all their bills, including rent.
  • On April 17, Reps. Pressley, Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and colleagues introduce the Rent and Mortgage Cancellation Act, a bill to institute a nationwide cancellation of rents and home mortgage payments through the duration of the coronavirus pandemic.
  • On May 11, Reps. Tlaib, and Joe Neguse (D-CO) urge House and Senate leadership to include $11.5 billion in funding for Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG) in the next relief package to aid the nation’s homeless population who are experiencing heightened vulnerability during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • On July 24, in a Financial Services Committee hearing, Rep. Pressley discussed the unprecedented financial cliff facing millions of renters and homeowners, the economic consequences of millions losing their homes, including the ability to return to work, and why funding for legal representation is so critical.
  • On July 28, Rep. Pressley, Rep. DeLauro and Sen. Harris introduced the Housing Emergencies Lifeline Program (HELP) Act to provide much-needed, layered assistance to those facing eviction amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • In January 2021, Rep. Pressley and Rep. Jimmy Gomez (CA-34) led a group of 63 lawmakers in sending a letter to President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris urging them to using executive action to extend and strengthen the national eviction moratorium for the duration of the pandemic. 
  • This week, Congresswoman Pressley, along with Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), re-introduced the Rent and Mortgage Cancellation Act, a bill to institute a nationwide cancellation of rents and home mortgage payments through the duration of the coronavirus pandemic.


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