Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) says she will propose a bill this week that would cancel mortgage and rents payments until the coronavirus pandemic ends.
“The federal government obviously needs to act to prevent a full collapse of the national housing market, which is why I'm introducing my bill this week instituting a national moratorium on rent and home mortgage payments to last through the duration of this pandemic,” said Omar, among the House's most liberal or progressive Democrats.
“Under my legislation, payment on all rental homes will be canceled and landlords will be able to apply to have their losses covered by the federal government through a Rental Property Relief Fund to be administered by the Department of Housing and Labor – Urban Development – HUD,” Omar said said during a discussion organized by the community activist group People’s Action.
The pandemic has essentially shutdown the U.S. economy, which has resulted in tens of millions of Americans to lose paychecks while having to cover essential expenses including food and shelter. However, the financial crisis has also put a strain on property owners, who often rely on rents to pay the mortgage.
Under the plan, Omar said that “all home mortgage payments will be suspended with mortgage holders being eligible to apply for a similar HUD-operated Home Lenders Relief Fund.”
Omar argued that COVID-19 has “exposed a glaring racial disparity” in many states and localities.
“Now we have an opportunity to create a policy that remakes these systems and makes it more equitable for for all of us. I think if we really look at some of the positive things that can come out of the challenges that this pandemic will produce for so many of us, it is that we have the opportunity to put forth policies that are going to have a positive impact on our lives,” she said.
“We are hearing how the federal government really is rushing to come to the aid of corporations and not much urgency is being utilized in coming to the aid of everyday people,” she added.
Omar said “essential workers” such as store clerks, farmers, delivery truck drivers “might not be making a living wage to be able to feed themselves, to house themselves” or to care for their families.
“We have an opportunity to really now amplify the policies that we have been talking about like ‘Homes for All,’” Omar said, referring to a bill she proposed last year.
“We can now try to make sure that the people understand how important it is going to be to guarantee homes to all, to guarantee health care for people, to guarantee relief from eviction and relief from the kind of anxiety that people have as they struggle in paying their rent and their mortgages right now,” she added.
(h/t Just the News)