Landlords and mortgage holders would be able to have losses covered by the federal government under the legislation
The Minnesota congresswoman Ilhan Omar has unveiled a bill that would cancel rent and mortgage payments for millions of Americans struggling amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Under the legislation announced on Friday, landlords and mortgage holders would be able to have losses covered by the federal government. The program would extend for a month beyond the end of the national emergency, which was declared on 13 March, and would be made retroactive to cover April payments.
The proposal comes amid an unprecedented housing crisis: 31% of Americans in rental accommodation could not pay rent at the beginning of this month. Millions have lost their jobs since.
Federal answers have been limited. The Cares Act stimulus package included $12bn for Department of Housing and Urban Development programs targeting homelessness and rental assistance. But those funds do little to address the needs of millions of Americans who now find themselves on the edge of acute housing insecurity.
National housing groups have called for more funding for rental relief. The National Low Income Housing Coalition estimates it would cost about $76.1bn over 12 months to provide relief to the 11.5 million people who are already or soon will become severely housing cost-burdened. The group is demanding $100bn in emergency solutions grants towards short-term rental assistance.