New Year, New Stimulus

Celebrating NAHREP familia, cultura, politics, and grassroots action

January 7, 2021

Qué onda mi gente?!

Feliz año Nuevo! I know this was a rough holiday season for many of us. For me, resolutions, reflections, and all of the usual rituals I do around the New Year were just plain weird. I’m in Southern California, what is now considered the world’s epicenter of COVID outbreaks, so my New Year’s reflection and resolution was just one word: gratitude.

So as I start the year, I’m grateful that I’m alive, I’m grateful to have a job, I’m grateful I’m able to smell the morning air and the food I eat, and most importantly, I’m grateful I can call my mom and dad every day and hear their voices. If we’ve learned anything this past year, it is that we cannot take anything for granted.

Another thing I’m grateful for? That after almost a year of advocacy on another round of stimulus aid, Congress passed a hefty COVID relief package while we were eating tamales, drinking coquito, and prepping our rosca de reyes.

It’s a New Year, and a New Stimulus

Over the coming weeks we will be doing a more in depth explanation about what was in that stimulus bill and how you can take full advantage of it, during virtual events and through our COVID-19 Resource Center.

Today, I wanted to highlight some of the most relevant provisions for our NAHREP familia and the broader Latino community. If you have specific questions about any of these provisions, please send your questions to the COVID-19 resource center and we will get them answered right away.

Direct Cash Payments: The package included a direct payment of up to $600 to individuals making up to $75,000 a year or $1200 for couples making up to $150,000 per year, with an additional $600 per dependent child. Many have already been distributed. We were especially happy to see that mixed-immigration status families are included, not only for this round of stimulus checks but they will be receiving retroactive payments for the stimulus payments passed in March. Millions of Americans and tax payers were unfairly excluded in the last round and we are thankful that Congress will be correcting that this time around.

Please note, these checks not only support families hard hit economically by the pandemic, but serve as a means to jump start a sluggish economy during a recession. If you’ve done well financially this past year, use that $600 wisely and with intention. For example, spending money at struggling small businesses will help keep the lights on for another month.

Rental Assistance: This is a big one! The CDC eviction moratorium has been extended to January 31, 2021 and the bill calls for the establishment of the Treasury Department Emergency Rental Assistance Program to be distributed by state and local governments. For those of you who own rental properties, please let your tenants know that funds will be targeted to families impacted by COVID-19 and can be used for past due rent, future rent payments, and utility bills. We will be rolling out more information on this soon.

Another round of forgivable PPP loans: for those of you who applied for PPP loans last time or didn’t get around to it, another round is available so long as you meet the requirements. To be eligible for a second loan, small businesses and non-profits must have 300 or fewer employees and demonstrate a loss of 25% of gross receipts in any quarter during 2020. For the many Latinos in the restaurant and hospitality industries, they can now receive larger PPP awards at 3.5 times average total monthly payroll, rather than 2.5 times. Applications are open through March 31, so don’t sleep on it.

  • Tax treatment of PPP loans: I know many of you are wondering how PPP loans will be treated in your taxes. The bill clarifies that gross income shouldn’t include any amount that would come from the forgiveness of the loan and deductions are allowed for otherwise deductible expenses paid with the proceeds of a forgivable PPP loan.
  • Loan Forgiveness: To reduce paperwork, borrowers with loans up to $150,000 will be required to submit a one-page certification with only essential information to their lenders and keep documentation just in case the Administration audits the loan.

Unemployment Insurance: The bill includes $300 per week in additional federal unemployment benefits for workers through March 14, 2021 and increases the maximum number of weeks to 50 weeks.

In order to better serve you, please send any questions you might have about these programs over to me.

Los quiero mucho!

About Noerena Limón

Noerena Limón is NAHREP’s Executive Vice President of Public Policy and Industry Relations. Noerena heads the organization’s policy and advocacy efforts on issues ranging from homeownership, housing inventory, credit access and immigration.

Prior to joining NAHREP, Noerena spent six years at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and served as a political appointee under President Obama in the White House Office of Political Affairs.