Stop evictions and freeze rents

Pearl River  The ACORN Union in England has launched a petition in the wake of the coronavirus that has already gained 3000 signatures and rising.

As reported in The Independent

The ACORN union, which supports tenants, workers and residents, launched a petition this week urging the government to enact temporary rent freezes for renters suffering with the virus or self-isolating for the period of their self-isolation and recovery. The group also wants an immediate halt on section 21 and section 8 evictions.
Although the US House of Representatives passed a package of support, some of which deal with the issues of low-and-moderate income people, the details are unclear and the Senate has yet to act. The situation for tenants seems not to have been addressed.

City Lab surveys other countries and found an aggressive response in Singapore, which is getting huge accolades for its handling of the crisis, and Italy, caught in the throes of the virus:

In Singapore, government agencies took steps to stop the unfair expulsions of people who took state-ordered leaves of absence from work, underwent self-quarantine, or were being discriminated against based on race during the earlier days of the coronavirus outbreak. “Landlords found to have irresponsibly evicted their residents may face restrictions and even be barred from renting out their flats to foreign work pass-holders in future,” read a joint press release by the ministries of National Development, Education, and Manpower. And in Italy, where the entire country is under quarantine, the deputy economic minister said all mortgage payments will be suspended.

San Francisco and Los Angeles both have measures advancing to halt evictions for workers and families losing jobs or under quarantine. These aren’t perfect plans, but they are positive responses. Again, as reported by City Lab,

After the new eviction moratorium rules take effect in both cities, any renter who provides documentation — in the form of pay stubs, for example — that coronavirus-related issues have affected their ability to earn income will have the right to fight an eviction proceeding. The ordinance does not waive rent payments entirely; it just defers them, and prevents landlords from moving forward with unfair oustings.

Lower-income students are also at risk on many levels. Congress is talking about suspending interest charges during the crisis, but as we know from England and Ireland, students are hard pressed as tenants in precarious housing as well. No work and no school, puts many in a double bind.

Here’s the point. We have an affordable housing crisis worldwide. Tenants are at risk everywhere. Governments have to step up to prevent mass homelessness and evictions.

Wade Rathke is founder and chief organizer of ACORN and ACORN International. You can find Wade’s recent past posts here Chief Organizer Reports. And you can link to his website here Chief Organizer ACORN/ACORN International

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