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In New Letters, Campaign that Helped Lead #CancelRent Movement Urges Biden to Issue Eviction Moratorium With Teeth And Demands Congress Finally Cancel Rent and Rental Debt

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

WASHINGTON, D.C.—People’s Action today united with tenants facing eviction to host a press conference to call on President-Elect Biden to immediately issue an eviction moratorium that actually protects tenants and to push Senator Schumer to finally cancel rent and rental debt. The demands are included in letters supported by a coalition of progressive housing justice organizations and sent today to President-elect Biden’s transition team and Senator Schumer and House Speaker Pelosi.

“I’m a two time cancer survivor who got evicted while in treatment last year. I’ve experienced homelessness several times over. I shouldn’t have to go through this,” said Tiana Caldwell, leader with KC Tenants and People’s Action’s Homes Guarantee Campaign“Ultimately, we need a Homes Guarantee. We need to transform housing from commodity to public good. This is not a time for incrementalism, this is a time for systemic overhaul.”

“It shouldn’t be this way. I shouldn’t have to feel unsafe and intimidated in my own home. I shouldn’t have to worry about whether or not I have a safe place to stay in the middle of a pandemic,” said Shaye Awwad, a tenant facing eviction in Kentucky and leader with the People’s Action Homes Guarantee Campaign and Lexington Housing Justice Collective. 

The letters are sent as the nation teeters on an eviction cliff. Landlords across the country are waiting for eviction moratoriums to expire, 30-40 million tenants are on the cusp of homelessness, and tenants owe well over $70 billion in back rent. Meanwhile, Biden’s lukewarm and watered-down rental relief plan included in his American Rescue Plan does not sufficiently address the eviction crisis.

The letters sent to lawmakers include specific policies that would lead the country towards a Homes Guarantee such as:

  • An executive action to end all evictions on the first day of President-elect Biden’s term; 
  • Non-congregate emergency housing for everyone in shelters, jails, prisons, youth detention centers, and groups or nursing homes;
  • Passage of the Rent and Mortgage Cancellation Act, including a new provision to forgive rental debt; and
  • Creation of an acquisition fund and social housing development authority.

The letters are supported by People’s Action’s member organizations along with the endorsers of H.R. 6515 The Rent and Mortgage Cancellation Act, introduced by Rep. Ilhan Omar in the 116th Congress.

The full text of the letter to President-elect Biden’s transition team may be found here and the letter to Congress may be found here.

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People’s Action is a national network of 37 state and local grassroots, power-building organizations united in fighting for justice. We operate the largest progressive rural organizing project in the country. People’s Action and its member organizations are coordinating 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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