Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) along with Representatives Cori Bush (MO-01), Jimmy Gomez (CA-34), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14), Ilhan Omar (MN-05), Rashida Tlaib (MI-13), Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, and Jamaal Bowman (NY-16), sent a letter reiterating their ongoing calls for President Biden and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Rochelle Walensky to extend the federal eviction moratorium and prevent the historic and deadly wave of evictions that would occur if the government fails to do so.
The letter comes as the CDC’s moratorium expired last night.
“In the midst of the ongoing pandemic and the growing surges of the Delta variant across the nation, the impending eviction crisis is a matter of public health and safety and demands an urgent government response,” the lawmakers wrote. “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention must leverage every authority available to extend the eviction moratorium before it is too late.”
In their letter, the lawmakers noted that they continue to work diligently to push for legislative action and ensure that states and localities are disbursing the billions in critical emergency rental assistance to renters and property owners that Congress passed most recently as part of the American Rescue Plan. The lawmakers continue to call on House leadership to reconvene the House of Representatives and take a recorded vote on the Protecting Renters from Evictions Act of 2021, legislation led by House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters (CA-43) and co-sponsored by Rep. Pressley that would extend the moratorium through December 31, 2021.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, approximately 6 million renter households are behind on their rent and at risk of eviction, with Black, Latino, Asian, and Indigenous households most likely to be behind on their rental payments. While national vaccination rates are continuing to trend upwards and COVID-19 hospitalization rates are down in many communities, communities with lower vaccination rates and higher COVID-19 cases tend to be the same as those with renters at heightened risk of eviction when the moratorium expires.
“The eviction crisis will only exacerbate the trauma and hurt that has been borne by our most vulnerable communities and undermine our national efforts to combat the spread of this virus,” the lawmakers continued. “Extending the eviction moratorium is a matter of life and death for the communities we represent. We implore you to act with the urgency this moment demands.”
Last month, Rep. Pressley, along with Rep. Jimmy Gomez (CA-34) and Cori Bush (MO-01), led over 40 of their colleagues on a letter urging President Biden and CDC Director Rochelle Walensky to extend and strengthen the moratorium for the duration of the public health crisis.
From the onset of the pandemic, Congresswoman Pressley has fought tirelessly to provide robust housing protections for families in Massachusetts and across the nation.
- On March 18, 2020, Reps. Pressley, Katie Porter (D-CA) and Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) wrote to HUD calling for a moratorium on evicting renters during the coronavirus pandemic.
- On March 19, 2020, Rep. Pressley, along with progressive lawmakers and organizations, introduced the Housing is a Human Right Act to authorize more than $200 billion in federal spending over 10 years for crucial housing infrastructure and reduce homelessness.
- On March 23, 2020, Reps. Pressley and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) introduced the Public Health Emergency Shelter Act of 2020, legislation to provide critical funding to states and local governments responding to the needs of families and individuals experiencing homelessness during the COVID-19 crisis. This legislation was included and passed through the HEROES Act and H.R. 7301, the Emergency Housing Protections and Relief Act of 2020.
- On April 10, 2020, Rep. Pressley urged Congressional leadership to prioritize recurring monthly cash payments to those most at-risk during the COVID-19 crisis. This funding would allow people to cover all their bills, including rent.
- On April 17, 2020, Reps. Pressley, Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and colleagues introduced the Rent and Mortgage Cancellation Act, a bill to institute a nationwide cancellation of rents and home mortgage payments through the duration of the coronavirus pandemic.
- On May 11, 2020, Reps. Tlaib, and Joe Neguse (D-CO) urged House and Senate leadership to include $11.5 billion in funding for Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG) in the next relief package to aid the nation’s homeless population who are experiencing heightened vulnerability during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- On July 24, 2020, in a Financial Services Committee hearing, Rep. Pressley discussed the unprecedented financial cliff facing millions of renters and homeowners, the economic consequences of millions losing their homes, including the ability to return to work, and why funding for legal representation is so critical.
- On July 28, 2020, Rep. Pressley, Rep. DeLauro and Sen. Harris introduced the Housing Emergencies Lifeline Program (HELP) Act to provide much-needed, layered assistance to those facing eviction amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
- On May 18, 2021, Reps. Bush and Pressley sent a letter to the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), calling on the CDC to strengthen and extend the federal moratorium on evictions, ensuring families can remain safely in their homes for the duration of the COVID-19 global health emergency.
- In June 2021, Congresswoman Pressley, along with Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), re-introduced the Rent and Mortgage Cancellation Act, a bill to institute a nationwide cancellation of rents and home mortgage payments through the duration of the coronavirus pandemic.