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West Coast, Hawaii Legislators Call For Rent Relief From Congress

Sarah Ruiz-Grossman
·2-min read

State lawmakers in California, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington are urging Congress to take action and protect the millions of renters facing eviction amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“Our constituents can no longer make ends meet due to the pandemic,” wrote half a dozen legislators, who chair their state legislature’s housing committees, in a letter sent Sunday to their Congressional delegations.

The lawmakers called for Congress to provide rental assistance funds for renters, noting that if many people are evicted and end up homeless, this could further worsen the spread of COVID-19.

“Immediate action is needed to prevent a massive eviction crisis that could impede our ability to curb the transmission of COVID-19,” the lawmakers wrote. “When renters are forced out of their homes, they either end up homeless, or are forced to move into overcrowded, temporary housing that does not allow them to follow the physical distancing urged by public health officials.”

The U.S. Census Bureau’s survey of American households found that from Oct. 28-Nov. 9, over 15 million households — or 28% of renters surveyed — had either “no confidence” or only “slight confidence” of being able to pay next month’s rent.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a moratorium on evictions amid the pandemic that is set to expire at the end of the year. The order does not protect renters from having to pay back any unpaid rent from the previous months. The lawmakers’ letter warns that the policy “only delays a massive wave of evictions.”

Several states have passed their own eviction moratoriums, but...

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