The Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) held a virtual town hall event with Representatives Karen Bass (D-CA), Maxine Waters (D-CA), and Al Green (D-TX) on the growing threat of evictions during the pandemic as part of the CBC’s "Speak Up & Speak Out" series on COVID-19, systemic racism, and Black America.
Congresswoman Waters, chair of the House Financial Services Committee, led the event, stating, “We need to ask ourselves if further damage to housing inequality in America is an outcome that is acceptable to us. I, for one, will not stand by and watch as families suffer." Representative Green pointed to the need for relief in his Texas district, where local emergency rental assistance resources ran out within 90 minutes. “The rent must be paid!”
NLIHC President and CEO Diane Yentel spoke about the urgent need for Congress to enact the essential housing and homelessness resources and protections in the HEROES Act, including NLIHC’s top priorities: a national, uniform moratorium covering all renters for non-payment of rent; at least $100 billion in emergency rental assistance through the “Emergency Rental Assistance and Rental Market Stabilization Act” and housing vouchers; and $11.5 billion in emergency resources to prevent and respond to outbreaks among people experiencing homelessness.
Lisa Rice of the National Fair Housing Alliance spoke about the disproportionate harm the pandemic has had on Black and Latino households and warned that an eviction crisis would further widen racial inequities. Malcolm Bennett, a property owner in Los Angeles, argued that renters and landlords must work together to ensure Congress provides emergency rental assistance. Ayanna Fortson of the National Urban League urged congressional leaders to act quickly.
Watch the virtual town hall at: https://tinyurl.com/y35oabp2