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Tenants and Community Members Reclaim Stories at Courthouses, Apartment Complexes, and Homes Across the Country and Call on Senate to Stand Up for Renters

Contact: Johanna Kichton, press@peoplesaction.org, 202.660.0605

WASHINGTON, D.C.—People’s Action’s Homes Guarantee Campaign is today hosting a Day of Action in which tenants and community members across the country are holding rallies in person and online to share their stories and stand in solidarity with tenants who have been forced from their homes during the pandemic. The organization and action participants are calling on Majority Leader Schumer and the Senate to immediately provide relief—by cancelling rent, mortgages, and all accrued rental debt—either in the COVID relief package being negotiated, passing standalone legislation, or through any means possible.

Solidarity rallies are being held in Bowling Green, Ky.; Lexington, Ky.; Louisville, Ky.; Las Vegas, Nev.; Topeka, Kan., and Chicago, Ill.

“I am taking action to Cancel Rent not only for my family, but for all the families struggling. I don’t have a lot of words–I just have a lot of pain,” Lexington Housing Justice Collective Leader Sharona Ferguson said. “It is a stress on my family not knowing if I will be able to pay my bills, not knowing if I will be homeless. People are desperate out here. The government can help us. Majority Leader Schumer and Senate: Help us by cancelling our rents and rental debt.”

“Housing is a human right, and a matter of life and death in this pandemic,” People’s Action Homes Guarantee Organizer Grace White said. “Tenants, public housing residents, and supporters across the country are calling on Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and the Senate to cancel rent and rental debt, once and for all.”

For the past year, tenants have demanded Congress cancel all rent and mortgage payments through the duration of the pandemic, but Congress has failed to provide renters with the comprehensive protection they need:

  • Landlords are still evicting tenants and judges are still hearing evictions, despite the CDC Eviction Moratorium; 
  • Last week, a federal judge in Texas ruled the CDC eviction moratorium unconstitutional, and the Department of Justice will now appeal the ruling; 
  • The current CDC moratorium expires at the end of March, leaving 30-40 million tenants on the cusp of homelessness; and 
  • Tenants owe well over $70 billion in back rent.

People’s Action calls on Senate Majority Leader Schumer and the Senate to:

  • Suspend rent payments for the duration of the crisis, meaning no rent obligation, no late fees, no debts, no retaliation;
  • Suspend mortgages payment for the duration of the crisis, meaning no mortgage payments, no debts, and no retaliation;
  • Forgive all rental debts accrued beginning on March 13, 2020;
  • Enforce the suspensions, including civil action against, and steep penalties for, any violators;
  • Provide relief for some property owners, conditioned on a set of critical tenant protections; and,
  • Create a buyout fund to prevent massive corporate purchases and real estate speculation, like what occurred after the 2008 crisis, and to begin a transition to social housing.

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People’s Action is a national network of 40 state and local grassroots, power-building organizations in 30 states, united in fighting for justice. We operate the largest progressive rural organizing project in the country. People’s Action and its member organizations coordinated one of the biggest distributed organizing programs in rural areas this election season.

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Press Contact
Johanna Kichton

(202) 660-0605

About People’s Action Institute

Over five decades, People’s Action Institute and our affiliates have fought for reforms that recognize poor and working people’s dignity and make material and political improvements to millions of lives. Our victories include the Community Reinvestment Act, Superfund, the Affordable Care Act, the Dodd-Frank Financial Reform Act and the MAT Act.

We engage in issue campaigns, public education and training to advance a long-term agenda for racial, economic and gender justice. Our focus now is on deepening community organizing so we can build lasting power across the country. 

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