US distributes $742mln in COVID-19 related aid to homeowners in 42 states

Washington, May 14 (FN Bureau) The US government has provided nearly $750 million in aid to homeowners in 42 states and five territories as part of the COVID-19 American Rescue Plan, the Treasury Department said on Thursday. The plan’s Homeowner Assistance Fund “was designed to prevent mortgage delinquencies and defaults, foreclosures, loss of utilities or home energy services, and displacement of homeowners experiencing financial hardship due to the COVID-19 public health crisis,” a Treasury press release said.

The fund provided a minimum of $50 million for each of 42 states, Washington, DC, which is not a state, and the territory of Puerto Rico, the release said. The territories of Guam, American Samoa, the US Virgin Islands, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, each received $30 million, the release added. In addition, the fund provided $498 million for Native American tribes or tribally designated housing entities and the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, according to the release. Treasury earlier released $21.6 billion in emergency aid for renters to help prevent evictions due to the pandemic.

US airlines carried almost 10 percent more passengers in March 2021 compared to March a year earlier, the first increase since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in early 2020, the Bureau of Transportation Statistics said on Thursday. “The reporting airlines carried 42.6 million passengers in March 2021 (preliminary), compared to 38.9 million passengers in March 2020. The systemwide increase was driven by a 14% increase in the number of domestic passengers (39.2M). Over the same period, the number of international passengers (3.4M) declined by 26%, the smallest year-over-year decline since February 2020,” a press release from the bureau read. March 2020 marked the first month in which airline travel was reduced by COVID-19, with total passengers – domestic and international – falling 47 percent from pre-pandemic March 2019, the release added. The US airlines have reported noticeable increases in leisure travel, although business travel remains depressed as well as international travel, due to COVID-19 restrictions blocking entry into some countries with other nations requiring quarantine periods for arriving travelers.