Massive rise in unemployment:
Over the past few weeks, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to the near shutdown of the service industry, cutting off many workers from their only means of survival. This has similarly led to mass unemployment in nearly every industry. Further, many people seeking work are now finding HR departments aren’t hiring, and many workers doing freelance/commission work have seen a standstill in project requests. Many of these people do not qualify for unemployment benefits. Without a freeze on rents and mortgages, we are hurtling straight for a housing crisis.
Public health concerns:
For many still with work in the service industry, they continue to work paycheck-to-paycheck. Without a freeze on rent, many of these employees will ignore symptoms and go into work anyways. We need to address housing concerns, or we will only increase the spread of COVID-19. The current moratorium on evictions is not an adequate fix to this serious public health concern!
What has been done so far?
While the courts have put a moratorium on evictions until May 1st, they have not suspended rent payments, meaning landlords can still file for eviction—your court date will just be pushed until May.
If things continue as they are, a catastrophe is coming. Those with symptoms will continue to go into work in order to make rent. For the 78% of workers in the US living paycheck-to-paycheck, a sudden loss of income will leave them and their families facing down eviction notices, and/or massive back-payments and late fees for the months of rent in which they had no income.
What can we do?
This is a declaration and an invitation: we will not be paying our rents or our mortgages. We are standing together in solidarity and demanding that this public health crisis not be allowed to worsen, and lead to a housing crisis as well. We are demanding rent payments be suspended for the duration of the pandemic, without back-payments and late fees. This pandemic needs to be taken seriously!
We invite those already in a vulnerable position to join in this collective refusal, and find power and hope in one another. We urge those who still have income, or can rely on savings, to please stand in solidarity by participating in this rent and mortgage strike. There are folks who are not so privileged and are facing an immediate financial crisis, on top of this public health crisis. Further, forcing rent and mortgage payments during this pandemic will only heighten the spread of COVID-19. We need to stand together in the face of this national emergency. Alone we can do little, but together we are strong!
FAQs from landlords:
Check out these posts for more in-depth information, with sources, on the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to the near shutdown of the service industry. This has similarly led to mass unemployment in nearly every industry. Further, many people seeking work are now finding HR departments aren’t hiring, and many workers doing freelance/commission work have seen a standstill in project requests. Many of these people do not … More
Pictures added by Regina Larsen. In the past few months, the pandemic has laid bare the horrors of our global neoliberal system. Here’s some lessons I’ve learned since the outbreak of COVID-19: (1) All the resources and labor funneled into the military has done little to protect us from this crisis, and may even wind … More
Graphics and Flyers:
- Central Texas – links to JotForm on Rent Strike in Central Texas, and related Instagram @RentStrikeATX.
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