Reps. Gomez, Pressley and 63 Members Call on President-Elect Biden to Extend Eviction Moratorium on First Day in Office
Biden-Harris Administration Must Prioritize Housing and Homelessness Crisis, Sign Executive Order to Halt Evictions and Work with Congress to Pass Rent Relief
Los Angeles, January 15, 2021
LOS ANGELES – Today, Congressman Jimmy Gomez (CA-34) and Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) led a group of 63 Members of Congress in sending a letter to President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris urging them to immediately prioritize the nation’s housing and homelessness crisis by using executive action to extend and strengthen the national eviction moratorium for the duration of the pandemic. The letter comes as the Biden-Harris administration announces a $1.9 trillion emergency relief package that calls for $30 billion more in rental assistance and extends eviction protections.
“The Biden-Harris COVID rescue package announced yesterday makes it clear that the incoming administration is committed to ensuring that no one should have to choose between going without food or shelter,” said Congressman Gomez. “And while I look forward to working with the new administration to enact a COVID rescue plan into law, President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris have the opportunity to provide housing relief on Inauguration Day. I strongly urge the Biden-Harris administration to use its executive authority on day one to extend the eviction moratorium and provide some sense of security to millions of Americans.”
“Our nation continues to be in the midst of a public health and economic crisis, with countless families in Massachusetts and all across the country at risk of eviction,” said Congresswoman Pressley. “With the pandemic worsening daily, we have a moral and collective responsibility to use every tool available to provide relief and support to our communities. While I was encouraged to see President-Elect Biden call for Congress to extend the eviction moratorium as part of his rescue plan, he must also take executive action to extend and strengthen the eviction moratorium for the duration of the pandemic. Doing so would help prevent a nationwide eviction tsunami that would disproportionately harm our most vulnerable neighbors. We must act with the urgency this crisis demands.”
In the letter, the lawmakers asked the incoming administration to:
The national eviction moratorium – extended by Congress last month in the latest COVID-19 relief bill – is set to expire on January 31, 2021. That bill also included $25 billion in rental assistance.
The letter has been endorsed by the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC), the Downtown Women’s Center, the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA), The People Concern, the Koreatown Youth and Community Center (KYCC), People Assisting The Homeless (PATH), and the Little Tokyo Service Center.
The full text of the letter is below. For a PDF of the letter, click here.
The following Members of Congress signed onto the letter: Reps. Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), Mark Takano (CA-41), Danny K. Davis (IL-07), Donald S. Beyer Jr. (VA-08), Rashida Tlaib (MI-13), Joyce Beatty (OH-03), Dwight Evans (PA-02), Mike Doyle (PA-18), Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12), David Price (NC-04), Filemon Vela (TX-34), Alan Lowenthal (CA-47), James P. McGovern (MA-02), Barbara Lee (CA-13), Tony Cárdenas (CA-29), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14), Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40), Raúl M. Grijalva (AZ-03), Nanette Diaz Barragán (CA-44), André Carson (IN-07), Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), David Cicilline (RI-01), Karen Bass (CA-37), Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC-AL), Nydia M. Velázquez (NY-07), Jerry McNerney (CA-09), Gerald E. Connolly (VA-11), Marcy Kaptur (OH-09), Ruben Gallego (AZ-07), Yvette D. Clarke (NY-09), Steve Cohen (TN-09), Grace F. Napolitano (CA-32), Deborah K. Ross (NC-02), Jackie Speier (CA-14), Adriano Espaillat (NY-13), Alcee L. Hastings (FL-20), Linda T. Sánchez (CA-38), Earl Blumenauer (OR-03), Abigail D. Spanberger (VA-07), Ted Deutch (FL-22), Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11), Ami Bera (CA-07), Jim Cooper (TN-05), Doris Matsui (CA-06), Darren Soto (FL-09), Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01), Mary Gay Scanlon (PA-05) , Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12), Alma S. Adams (NC-12), Jamaal Bowman (NY-16), J. Luis Correa (CA-46), and Lisa Blunt Rochester (DE-AL), Suzan K. DelBene (WA-01), Mondaire Jones (NY-17), Adam Smith (WA-09), Veronica Escobar (TX-16), Peter Welch (VT-AL), Henry C. “Hank” Johnson, Jr. (GA-04), Jason Crow (CO-06), Jahana Hayes (CT-05), Judy Chu (CA-27), and Daniel T. Kildee (MI-05).
Dear President-Elect Biden and Vice President-Elect Harris:
We write to strongly urge you to make the housing and homelessness crisis a day-one priority by using executive authority to further extend and strengthen the eviction moratorium for the remainder of the COVID-19 public health emergency, ensuring rental assistance funding is targeted to those who need it most, and working with Congress to expand housing assistance to provide housing stability for the millions of underserved renters who need help.
Congress recently passed a COVID-19 relief bill that extends the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) federal eviction moratorium to January 31, 2021 and provides $25 billion in rental assistance. The bill immediately protects millions of renters who faced eviction when the CDC moratorium was due to expire December 31, 2020. While rental assistance will provide much needed relief, the eviction crisis continues to loom as national COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations, and deaths are at an all-time high.
In fewer than 30 days, the CDC moratorium will expire, and many renters will once again face the threat of eviction. Black and Hispanic households, in particular, are disproportionately experiencing the compounding effects of higher rates of job loss, being more likely to be essential workers, and being more likely to face potential eviction. The $25 billion Congress recently allocated toward rental assistance will help prevent an initial wave of evictions, but it is not enough to provide housing stability for all renters struggling to pay their rent. And many households will need ongoing monthly assistance while the economy recovers. The Biden/Harris administration can extend the CDC moratorium further, to ensure that there is no gap in eviction protections as states and localities distribute the $25 billion in rental assistance and as Congress works on a comprehensive relief package that includes robust housing and homelessness resources.
It is critical that we take all necessary action to protect individuals and families from evictions and homelessness during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Biden/Harris administration could do this by significantly strengthening the current CDC moratorium to ensure that the protections are automatic, self-executing and that tenants are not expected to navigate a myriad of overly burdensome eligibility requirements in order to safely remain in their homes. By incorporating these critical improvements, we can work to curtail the evictions crisis disproportionately impacting our Black and Latino communities.
We look forward to working with the Biden/Harris administration to advance legislation in Congress that meets this crisis with the scale and urgency it deserves. In the meantime, we also look forward to working with the administration to employ every available resource through executive action to extend and strengthen protections for vulnerable renters to avoid a catastrophic wave of evictions. Thank you for your consideration of our urgent request.