Senator Warren, Reps. Chuy García and Lee Introduce Legislation to Extend Nation-wide Moratorium on Evictions
The Protecting Renters from Evictions and Fees Act would extend and expand the eviction moratorium for renters that ends on July 24, 2020 unless extended; Lawmakers urge Congress to pass their bill to help mitigate the hardship many Americans continue to or will experience due to the economic ramifications of the coronavirus crisis
Washington, DC - United States Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Ranking Member of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Protection, Congressman Jesús G. "Chuy" García (D-Ill.), a member of the House of Representatives Committee on Financial Services, and Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) introduced the Protecting Renters from Evictions and Fees Act of 2020.
"Renters who have lost their job or had their income reduced shouldn't have to fear losing their homes in the middle of a pandemic. Housing is a human right and an absolute necessity to keep families safe during this crisis, and Congress must step in now to help keep people in their homes," said Senator Warren.
"No one should be kicked out of their home during a pandemic, and as existing eviction moratoriums expire it's more important than ever for Congress to protect renters. Senator Elizabeth Warren, Congresswoman Barbara Lee and I are introducing the Protecting Renters from Eviction And Fees Act to ensure that no tenant can be evicted," said Congressman Jesús G. "Chuy" García. "My district consists principally of immigrant and working class communities, and more than half of my constituents are renters. As our country faces historic levels of unemployment and with another first of the month around the corner, people in my district are hurting-- the last thing they should worry about is having a roof over their head."
"The COVID-19 pandemic has created an unprecedented national housing emergency - families around the country are struggling to pay the bills, keep food on the table, and keep a roof over their heads," said Congresswoman Lee. "As physical distancing and stay at home orders continue, keeping safe means having a home to stay inside. Congress must continue to lead with protection against housing evictions to ensure that all families have a space to live."
Even before the coronavirus pandemic, 25% of renters had housing costs greater than half of their income. Families already living on the margin are now facing increased economic vulnerability due to COVID-19. Experts are warning that ending the moratorium now could lead to "an avalanche of evictions" as Americans continue to face high unemployment rates - which are as high as 16.8% for black Americans and 17.6% for Latinx Americans, and 13.3% overall. The latest U.S. Census Bureau Household Pulse Survey finds that 30% of renters have no or little confidence they can make their next housing payment; and renters of color are disproportionately more likely to be concerned about making their next housing payment.
The Protecting Renters from Evictions and Fees Act extends the federal eviction moratorium to March 27, 2021, one year after the date of enactment of the CARES Act, and expands the moratorium to cover substantially all renters. The bill also prohibits fees, fines, and extra charges due to nonpayment of rent. The HEROES Act, already passed by the House of Representatives, includes the same extension and universal expansion of the federal eviction moratorium.
Senate cosponsors include: Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Senators Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawai'i), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), and Kamala Harris (D-Calif.).
House cosponsors include: Representatives Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), Carolyn B. Maloney (D-N.Y.), Deb Haaland (D-N.M.), Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Nydia M. Velázquez (D-N.Y.), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), James P. McGovern (D-Mass.), José Serrano (D-N.Y.), Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), Adriano Espaillat (D-N.Y.), Jahana Hayes (D-Conn.), Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), Jerry McNerney (D-Calif.), Judy Chu (D-Calif.), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), André Carson (D-Ind.), Sylvia Garcia (D-Texas), Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio), Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), Ann Kirkpatrick (D-Ariz.), Joe Kennedy III (D-Mass.), Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.), and Kweisi Mfume (D-Md.).
The Protecting Renters from Evictions and Fees Act of 2020 is endorsed by the National Low Income Housing Coalition, National Housing Law Project, and Action Center on Race and the Economy.
"Without a significant federal intervention there will be a rash of evictions and a spike in homelessness across the country," said Diane Yentel, President and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition. "Ensuring housing stability for all is both a moral imperative and a public health necessity. I applaud Senator Warren, Representatives Chuy García and Lee for introducing legislation today that will keep renters in their homes and give them the security and stability needed to stay safe throughout the duration of the pandemic."
"Black communities are bearing the brunt of compounded crises, from the high rate of Covid19 cases and mortality rates, economic devastation due to unemployment and low wages and physical violence at the hands of police. While all of these problems need comprehensive solutions, ACRE is endorsing this emergency legislation to protect renters that will otherwise be abandoned to yet another devastating loss at this time," said Maurice BP-Weeks, Co-Executive Director of Action Center on Race and the Economy.
"The Coronavirus crisis is far from over; and the implications for housing instability, an impending tsunami of evictions, and the devastation of homelessness are only growing as we ride continued waves of cases across the country. Senator Warren, Representatives Chuy García and Lee recognize that the CARES Act moratorium was insufficient to cover all renters in the U.S., and that the expiration of the original moratorium is coming far too soon. NHLP applauds the lawmakers' Protecting Renters from Evictions and Fees Act to expand the moratorium to near universal coverage for renters and to extend this moratorium to March 27, 2021, and we encourage it's full inclusion in any final coronavirus package," said Shamus Roller, Executive Director of the National Housing Law Project.
Senator Warren has made it a priority to ensure families and individuals have access to stable housing amid the COVID-19 pandemic. She recently joined Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), and Congressman Denny Heck (D-Wash.) in announcing the Emergency Rental Assistance and Rental Market Stabilization Act of 2020, legislation that would authorize $100 billion for an emergency rental assistance program to help renters stay housed during and after the pandemic. In March, she sent a letter with Senator Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Congresswomen Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) and Katie Porter (D-Calif.) to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development asking for a moratorium on evicting renters during the coronavirus pandemic. She published an op-ed in which she called for a grassroots economic stimulus package that would protect and expand affordable housing, among other measures. Senator Warren has also introduced legislation to protect individuals experiencing homelessness during the pandemic by providing $11.5 billion in the next COVID-19 relief package for states and localities to provide emergency shelter and services.
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