Source: United States House of Representatives – Congresswoman Cindy Axne (IA-03)
“Iowa families are counting on the federal government to step up and protect their homes during this outbreak”
Today, Rep. Cindy Axne (IA-03) called on federal agencies that manage federally-assisted housing to immediately halt all foreclosures and evictions on properties overseen by their agencies in the light of the ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
As the COVID-19 pandemic causes layoffs and forces families to take emergency leave to care for sick family or relatives, this national public health emergency could leave millions of Americans unable to pay their rent or mortgage in the coming months.
“Iowa families are counting on the federal government to step up and protect their homes during this COVID-19 outbreak,” said Rep. Axne. “As families are working to prepare for the tough economic times that are coming with this COVID-19 outbreak, those living at federally-backed properties should have the peace of mind of knowing they won’t lose their home in the midst of this public health emergency.”
The letter calls on the leaders that oversee properties at Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the United States Department of Agriculture’s Rural Housing Service to institute an immediate, nationwide moratorium on all foreclosures and evictions.
The letter, which was led by Oversight Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (NY-12), was signed by over 100 members of the U.S House of Representatives – including over a dozen of Rep. Axne’s colleagues on the House Financial Services Committee.
The letter points out past precedent for disasters prompting similar action.
“Moratoriums of this nature have been imposed in the past when our nation has faced our darkest days,” the members wrote. “For example, after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico in 2017, HUD, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac instituted a temporary foreclosure moratorium for affected homeowners in Puerto Rico.”
The full text of the letter can be found below:
Dear Director Calabria, Secretary Carson, Secretary Wilkie, and Secretary Perdue:
We write to request that your agencies institute an immediate, nationwide moratorium on all foreclosures of, and evictions from, properties owned, insured, or overseen by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Department of Veterans Affairs, or the United States Department of Agriculture’s Rural Housing Service in light of the developing Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. This is a national emergency, and many occupants of federally-assisted housing will not be able to afford rent or mortgage payments through no fault of their own, as a direct result of emergency limitations put in place to safeguard public health.
This request is not without precedent; moratoriums of this nature have been imposed in the past when our nation has faced our darkest days. For example, after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico in 2017, HUD, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac instituted a temporary foreclosure moratorium for affected homeowners in Puerto Rico.
Much like a natural disaster, COVID-19 has already caused untold health, social, and economic damage in the United States and across the globe. During this time of uncertainty, it is imperative that your agencies impose a temporary moratorium on foreclosures and evictions to protect the countless Americans who have been, or soon will be, impacted by this evolving public health crisis.
As the number of infected individuals and the number of broken supply chains rises, we must take proactive steps to protect the millions of working-class families, low-income households, and minority communities who will be disproportionately affected as increasingly aggressive quarantine measures develop and are implemented on the local, state, and federal levels.
As you know, President Trump has now declared a national emergency under the Stafford Act. Accordingly, and consistent with this declaration, we urge all of you to immediately take steps to halt all foreclosures and evictions — whether new or pending — in order to protect millions of Americans during this crisis.