Young, Bennet, Portman, and Brown Reintroduce Bipartisan Legislation to Tackle the Eviction Crisis
WASHINGTON—U.S. Senators Todd Young (R-Ind.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) reintroduced the Eviction Crisis Act of 2021 to address the national housing crisis touching millions of American families who are struggling. The Eviction Crisis Act of 2021 will illustrate the root causes of the eviction crisis, reduce preventable evictions, and limit the devastation to families when eviction is unavoidable.
“Evictions start with the loss of a home and often end with job loss, depression, and becoming further ingrained in the cycle of poverty. Indiana is home to three cities with some of the highest eviction rates in the United States and this legislation takes a number of important steps to work with and support tenants, landlords, and municipalities to help avoid the process of putting another family on the street,” said Senator Young.
“Time and again I’ve heard from Coloradans about how one single event—an unexpected illness, a car accident, or a family emergency—can lead to their lives falling apart. Too often, these unavoidable circumstances can result in a family being evicted from their home and falling into a cycle of poverty that lasts for years,” said Senator Bennet. “The COVID-19 pandemic only worsened this deep national crisis. The hardship caused by eviction is agonizing for the millions of American families evicted every year, and it's past time for us to invest in comprehensive solutions to prevent avoidable evictions.”
“Stable housing is a vital part of getting people back on their feet. I’ve long worked on efforts to address homelessness and increase the supply of housing and I’m proud to partner with Senator Bennet on this bipartisan initiative. After dealing with extraordinary job losses throughout the country due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is clear that legislation that can help prevent avoidable evictions and reduce homelessness is more important than ever,” said Senator Portman.
“Home is the foundation of the rest of our lives: our family connections, our education, our work, and our health. The shortage of affordable housing and evictions tear at that foundation. And as we learned during the pandemic, the lack of a safe, stable home can even mean the difference between life and death. The Eviction Crisis Act will give our communities new tools to prevent evictions and support vulnerable households,” said Senator Brown.
The Eviction Crisis Act of 2021 will:
- Improve Data and Analysis on Evictions
- Creates a national database to standardize data and track evictions, in order to better inform policy decisions.
- Establishes a Federal Advisory Committee on Eviction Research to make recommendations related to data collection, as well as policies and practices that can prevent evictions or mitigate their consequences.
- Authorizes funding for a comprehensive study to track evictions, analyze landlord-tenant law, and assess varying factors in urban, suburban, and rural areas.
- Reduce Preventable Evictions and Mitigate Eviction-Related Consequences
- Co-invest in state and local government programs:
- Creates a program to fund state and local governments expanding the use of landlord-tenant community courts and increasing the presence of social services representatives for tenants, which help both tenants and landlords avoid the high cost of eviction.
- Establishes a new permanent Emergency Assistance Program to provide financial assistance and housing stability-related services to eviction-vulnerable tenants. As states wind down their COVID-related Emergency Rental Assistance programs, states and local jurisdictions will be able to transition seamlessly to this new program.
- Support increased legal representation for tenants:
- Expresses support for substantially increasing funding for the Legal Services Corporation, a public-private partnership that provides legal services to low-income Americans.
- Improve Information on Tenant Screening Reports
Requires consumer reporting agencies to provide consumers with tenant screening reports when they are requested as part of a rental application process, so tenants can contest and correct inaccurate or incomplete information.
When a court rules in favor of a tenant in an eviction proceeding, this bill requires those judgments and eviction filings related to that proceeding to be removed from tenant screening reports.
Since 1960, the median household’s income grew by less than 40% after adjusting for inflation, yet the median rental payment rose by nearly 80%. With housing costs far outpacing incomes, roughly 3.7 million eviction cases were filed annually in recent years. In 2016, one in 50 renters was evicted from his or her home. This nationwide eviction crisis has undermined family economic security and placed enormous financial strain on the nation’s health care system, courts, schools, and local governments.
Support for the Eviction Crisis Act
The following national organizations have endorsed the Eviction Crisis Act: National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC); Opportunity Starts at Home Campaign; National Alliance to End Homelessness; Children’s Healthwatch; NAACP; COVID-19 Eviction Defense Project; National Association of Social Workers; National Education Association; National League of Cities; Food Research & Action Center.
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