Call your senators on Thursday to demand pandemic housing assistance

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Editor’s Note: Contact information for your senators and representatives is easy to find here.

Join housing supporters across the country for “National Call-In Day” on Thursday, November 19th to demand that your representative and senators pass a coronavirus relief bill with critical housing assistance and protections. Sponsored by the National Low-Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC), the call-in day is a way to bring housing needs directly to congressional offices.

As winter approaches and the coronavirus pandemic rages on, Congress has deadlocked on passing a comprehensive relief bill. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) have both said they want to see more pandemic relief passed before the end of the year, but wide differences remain. If Congress does not pass something during the “lame duck” session, any new relief will have to wait until after the Biden administration takes office at the end of January.

Now that the elections are over, House and Senate leaders are restarting talks about a new round of relief. This is a critical time to let them know that renters need help now. Lawmakers need to hear that eviction protection and rental assistance are important to their constituents. Without federal action, 30-40 million renters risk losing their homes when the CDC eviction moratorium expires at the end of the year.

NLIHC is asking people to urge their members of Congress to pass a coronavirus relief package that includes these top priorities for low-income renters:

  • $100 billion in emergency rental assistance.
  • A national, uniform eviction moratorium.
  • $11.5 billion to prevent outbreaks among people experiencing homelessness.
  • Additional money for HUD and USDA affordable housing programs.

These are the same housing provisions found in the HEROES Act passed by the House last May. Although the CDC eviction moratorium provides relief for millions of renters, it only puts off the pain, Tenants are still on the hook for unpaid rent and fees. When the CDC order expires at the end of December, many renters will have built up back rent they have no hope of repaying.

NLIHC has an online advocacy toolkit with call scripts you can use to prepare for your calls. It also provides talking points so that callers can highlight the connections between health and housing that are so important during a pandemic. In addition, it has materials on education, racial justice, and LGBTQ housing issues.

Calling senators is a priority, since the Senate has not passed new coronavirus relief legislation. Senate Republicans have also provided the most resistance to additional relief funding. If your members of Congress already support housing relief during the pandemic, you can thank them when you call.

You can find the contact information for all Senators here, and all Representatives here.