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In response to COVID-19, the federal government has committed over $6 trillion in bailouts, largely to corporate interests. As people struggle to make rent and mortgage payments, large real estate investment corporations are poised to swoop in and buy up hundreds of thousands of homes, evicting people in the process. We saw this before, after the 2008 foreclosure crisis, which wiped out over half of the wealth of Black and Latinx communities. We cannot let this happen again.

Campaign spotlights:

Florida: In Florida, a state-wide alliance, the Florida Housing Justice Alliance, is calling on the governor to cancel all rents, mortgages, and small business lease payments for the duration of the emergency and 90 days after; ensure no one can ever be evicted for non-payment of rent during the state of emergency plus 90 days; take action to house people who are homeless; and to use government funds to provide direct assistance for renters’ and homeowners’ basic needs. In response to statewide organizing efforts, the governor has extended a moratorium on filing evictions and foreclosures through June 2.

Illinois: In Illinois, the COVID-19 Emergency and Economic Recovery Renter and Homeowner Protection Act has been introduced by Rep. Delia Ramirez and Sen. Robert Peters in the State legislature, to cancel rent and grant mortgage forbearance for 180 days. The Act would also establish a six-month eviction moratorium that includes filings; enact just cause eviction protections for the duration of the crisis across the state; require landlords accepts all sources of payment from renters including government and third party relief funds; prevent fees and penalties during the crisis; and add protections against discrimination by landlords. Take action to support its passage and lift Illinois’ ban on rent control.

Massachusetts: In Massachusetts, the efforts of housing justice organizations have resulted in a strong statewide moratorium on all non-essential evictions of tenants and small businesses for 120 days, or 45 days after the state of emergency ends; the law also bans late fees and foreclosures, and bars landlords from credit reporting if tenants can document failure to pay rent is due to financial impacts of COVID-19. Eviction notices, hearings, and sheriff enforcement are all halted.  Tenant and housing justice organizations continue to push for full rent cancellation to ensure all tenants are still protected from being evicted, once the moratorium is lifted.

Minnesota: In Minnesota, in response to statewide organizing efforts, the governor has issued an executive order to halt evictions for the duration of the crisis. Housing justice organizations continue to pressure for full rent cancellation, mortgage forebearance, a future free from debt, and increased public investment in permanently affordable and democratically controlled housing. In a victory for efforts to reclaim our homes and create permanently affordable housing, Land Bank Twin Cities, Inc., acquired five apartment buildings with the help of a zero-interest loan from the City of Minneapolis this May, and will resell these homes to the tenants, the 40 families of Sky WIthout Limits Cooperative, within two years.

New York: Across New York, on May 1, over 17,000 tenants took collective action to not pay their rent. Nearly 2,000 tenants in 60 buildings went on rent strike with their tenant unions; and over 15,000 people who could not pay the rent joined the movement to not pay, together. The New York State legislature has introduced a bill to cancel rent and mortgages, as well as late fees. Rent cancellation would apply to both residential and commercial tenants. The housing movement is continuing to fight for universal cancellation of rent, mortgages, and utilities, as well as an end to corporate takeovers of our homes. To read more about the fight in New York, including the details of the demands, visit www.housingjusticeforall.org

Affordable housing providers that have voluntarily canceled rent for their tenants:

  • Jane Place Neighborhood Sustainability Initiative, a community land trust based in the Mid-City neighborhood of New Orleans that builds permanently affordable housing for low- and middle-income renters, canceled their tenants’ rent in April. With much of the tourism-dependent city reeling from high unemployment, Jane Place considered rent cancellation was an important step to protect their tenants’ health and long-term housing security.
  • PUSH Buffalo, an affordable housing provider and community organization in Buffalo, New York, canceled April rent for all its 99 residential and 5 commercial tenants, and is calling on other landlords to do the same. Its commercial tenants include non-profit partners Ujima Co. Inc., Peace of the City, and the African Heritage Food Co-op.

National campaigns:

State and local campaigns:

Additional Resources: