On Saturday, April 25, cities and towns around the country will mobilize to demand: A national cancellation of all rents, mortgages for homeowners, small landlords, and small businesses, for the duration of the Pandemic.
The patchwork of city and state moratoriums on evictions is not enough. In a few months when these moratoriums are lifted and the rents come due — we will still not have the money! Join thousands of people across the country in car caravan protests on Saturday, April 25 to demand the cancellation of rent and all debts to landlords for the duration of the pandemic. Protesters will adhere to social distancing guidelines and requirements, including wearing masks, that have been established to respond to the Coronavirus outbreak.
The economy is virtually shut down as it must be to save lives. But massive testing and personal protective equipment are still not available, despite the great productive capacity of the United States.
In December 2019, when COVID-19 presented in China, the United States was warned that we would be affected. Instead of using the next two months to prepare, Trump and the U.S. government ignored public health experts, even ridiculing them. Now, due to this lack of preparedness, the United States has become the epicenter of the pandemic.
The effect on the people is devastating. At least 37,000 people in the United States have died and more than 650,000 are ill. There is no end to the health and economic crisis in the near future. 22 million people have lost their jobs in just one month, 15 times the previous record of 1982, and more jobless to come.
As a result of the economic crisis, at least 30 percent of renters were unable to pay their rent on April 1st. No one should lose their housing for any reason in this crisis! The rents and mortgages (including for small businesses) must be canceled!
A short-term suspension of evictions is not enough to save people’s homes. And the meager rescue stimulus payments the government provided must be for food, medicine, and other essential needs.
It can be done! Since the start of the pandemic in the United States, the federal government has pumped at least 5 trillion dollars into the big banks and the largest corporations. Only $249 billion was allocated for unemployment funding. This massive gift to the banks — the 1% at the top, compared to the 160 million U.S. workers — is 20 times the amount allotted for the unemployed. The money is there, it is simply a question of whether it is used to bail out Wall Street or to protect the homes of poor and working people. This wealth and the vast number of vacant housing units can be used to provide shelter for the homeless as well.
The government has the authority to cancel the rent. In fact, Representative Ilhan Omar has already introduced the Rent and Mortgage Cancellation Act in Congress. But this will be bitterly opposed by the landlords and big banks. The mobilization of the people, done in a socially responsible way, is urgently needed to ensure housing for all.