Sending Office: Honorable Ilhan Omar
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, Ayanna Pressley, Pramila Jayapal, Mark Pocan, Veronica Escobar, Jesús“Chuy” García, Grace Meng, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Bonnie Watson Coleman, Sheila Jackson Lee, Schakowsky, David Cicilline, Carolyn B. Maloney,
Raúl Grijalva, Andy Levin, Joseph P. Kennedy III
Endorsers: People’s Action, Center for Popular Democracy, Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation, Take Action MN, Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en Lucha (CTUL) MN, National Coalition for the Homeless, PolicyLink,
Public Advocates, Demos, Working Families Party, National Domestic Workers Alliance, Action Center on Race and the Economy, Institute for Policy Studies, Islamic Relief USA,
Global Justice Alliance Democracy Collaborative,
Global Economy Project, Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Citizen Action of New York, Citizen Action of Wisconsin, Community Voices Heard NY, Jane Addams Senior Caucus IL, KC Tenants MO, LUCHA AZ, Maine People’s Alliance, New Jersey Citizen
Action, Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition NY, ONE Northside IL, People Organized for Westside Renewal CA,
Ground Game LA CA, Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada, PUSH Buffalo NY, Reclaim Philadelphia PA, San Francisco Rising CA, Washington CAN, VOCAL NY, Housing Justice for All New York, New York Communities for Change, Organize
Florida, Texas Organizing Project, Make the Road NV, Make the Road PA, New Florida Majority, Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment Action, Arkansas Community Organization, Detroit Action Spaces In Action MI, Churches United for Fair Housing NY,
One Pennsylvania Housing Now!, Our Future West Virginia, Kansas/Missouri Dream Alliance
The Coronavirus pandemic currently challenging our nation is a public health crisis that will undoubtedly have the greatest effect on poor and working-class community members. We must ensure our nation’s collective well-being by taking
major action to protect the health and economic security of the most vulnerable, including the millions of Americans currently at risk of housing instability and homelessness.
Due to layoffs and mass unemployment, renters and mortgage holders are accruing debt, despite many not having a steady income for the foreseeable future. If vital measures are not taken immediately, millions of families will be forced from their homes and
the housing market will suffer irreparable damage. Already, calls for rent strikes are echoing across the nation as tenants withhold payment indefinitely. The federal government needs to act now to protect tenants and mortgage-holders who are suffering. Which
is why I will be introducing a bill this week instituting a nationwide cancellation of rents and home mortgage payments to last through the duration of the pandemic.
Under my legislation, payments on all rental homes and mortgage on primary residences will be permanently cancelled until the emergency declaration is lifted. The cancellation will be made retroactive to cover April 2020 payments and will extend one calendar
month after the national emergency is lifted. This law will constitute a full payment forgiveness, with no accumulation of debt for renters or homeowners and no negative impact on their credit rating or rental history.
Additionally, under my legislation, the Department of Housing and Urban Development will establish and administer a Rental Relief Fund and a Lender Relief Fund to which landlords and mortgage holders can apply to have the full cost of the suspended payments
covered by the federal government, so long as they agree to abide by a set of fair renting and lending practices for a period of five years. These relief funds will provide the financial support that struggling landlords need to maintain their properties and
the banking system needs to prevent further disruption to the market.
Lastly, my bill will create an Affordable Housing Acquisition fund, an optional buyout fund to fully finance the purchase of private rental properties by non-profits, public housing authorities, cooperatives, community land trusts, and states or local governments.
This fund will be designed to increase the availability of affordable and low-income units in the market, prevent the loss of viable homes in the wake of an economic downturn, and to mitigate the risk of real estate speculation – similar to what occurred after
the 2008 crisis.
Congress has a responsibility to step in to stabilize both local communities and the housing market during this time of uncertainty and crisis. We must take bold action now that extends the same financial assistance and protections to our struggling citizens
as has been offered to profit-driven corporations. To cosponsor, or if you have any questions, please contact Kelly Misselwitz at
Member of Congress
e-Dear Colleague version 2.0