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WASHINGTON, D.C.–People’s Action today applauded Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., for introducing the Rent and Mortgage Cancellation Act, which will institute a nationwide cancellation of rents and home mortgage payments for the duration of the COVID19 pandemic.

“Due to layoffs and mass unemployment, even more renters are making choices between food and rent, accruing debts, and at risk of being forced from their homes,” Tara Raghuveer, People’s Action’s Homes Guarantee Campaign Director, said. “The Rent and Mortgage Cancellation Act offers the only solution that can meet the scale and depth of our immediate needs related to housing, and establish a new framework for long-term recovery. 

“Congress must act to suspend rents and mortgages, and to prevent a 2008-style disastrous real estate bonanza,” Raghuveer added.

Omar’s bill will implement full payment forgiveness–no debt for renters or homeowners and no impact on credit or rental history. The bill will also create a relief fund for mortgage holders and landlords. People’s Action produced the initial outline of the bill and its grassroots team was deeply involved in the entire drafting process. 

Omar announced the bill at a virtual press conference on Friday, April 17, which is archived here. Raghuveer and People’s Action housing activist Tiana Caldwell participated in today’s event. 

“I was laid off last week,” Caldwell said. “I couldn’t pay my rent on April 1. I won’t be able to by May 1. No one should be expected to make any payments during this time. No payments, no late fees, no debts.” 

Caldwell added: “Even in pre-pandemic times, one emergency—a flat tire or a sick kid—is all that separates people like me from eviction or homelessness. Capitalism and racism have created the conditions for our complete inability to respond to COVID-19 with any semblance of humanity. Today, I need immediate relief, I need rent cancellation. Tomorrow, I need a Homes Guarantee.”

About People’s Action

People’s Action is a national network of 40 state and local grassroots, power-building organizations united in fighting for justice. Our organization recently released a vision for a national Homes Guarantee that has already prompted major legislation from champions including U.S. Reps. Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Rashida Tlaib. We operate the largest progressive rural organizing project in the country. Prior to endorsing a candidate for president, we completed a national forum series that included Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro, and Andrew Yang. The Nation called our Iowa forum the “most in-depth, people-powered forum” of the 2020 cycle.”

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Derrick Crowe, d.crowe@peoplesaction.org, 512.516.5067

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Press Contact
Derrick Crowe

(512) 516-5067

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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