Councilmembers Kristin Gisleson Palmer and Jay H. Banks will join representatives from other major U.S. cities to urge state and federal officials to cancel rent payments and impose a moratorium on mortgages.

Elected leaders from Boston, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York City, Philadelphia, Portland, San Francisco, and Seattle will express their support of some relief for workers and families struggling because of the pandemic.  New Orleans is among many cities under a mandatory stay at home order due to the COVID-19 health crisis, forcing businesses to close and leaving thousands of residents unable to work.

The online press conference is set to take place at 2:30 p.m. today (April 1, 2020).

“The coronavirus shutdown of our city, particularly the tourism industry, has left thousands of residents unemployed or furloughed, with rent and mortgage payments due in the coming days. Our local and state governments have already provided temporary protections to prevent immediate foreclosures or evictions. Still, we have to do more to secure housing for people severely impacted by this crisis. Protecting public health means ensuring that our residents have a stable roof over their heads,” said Councilmember Kristin Gisleson Palmer.

“Business as we once knew it has changed, and will remain so until this crisis has passed. Countless individuals cannot work due to no fault of their own. Our country has enough resources to bail out corporations, and we have enough to bail out our citizens. People across this nation have enough to worry about without trying to keep themselves and their families alive. Pressing pause on mortgage payments is not just the right thing to do; it is the only thing to do,” said Councilmember Jay H. Banks.

Federal laws enacted in response to COVID-19 already provides some protections, signaling that the leaders are calling for more widespread protections.

In response to COVID-19, current laws prohibit foreclosures on all federally-backed mortgages for a 60-day period beginning on March 18, 2020. 

They also provides up to 180 days of forbearance, regardless of delinquency status, for borrowers experiencing direct or indirect financial hardship relating to the COVID-19.

Evictions are also prohibited for 120 days from the enactment of the CARES Act (March 27 until July 25, 2020). Landlords are prohibited from initiating evictions or charging fees, penalties, or other charges to tenants related to the past due rent. This applies where the landlord’s mortgage on that property is insured, guaranteed, supplemented, protected, or assisted in any way by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the rural housing voucher program, or the Violence Against Women Act of 1994.

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