Housing Justice Letter to Governor DeSantis- Community Members + Groups + Advocates Sign On
Dear Housing Justice Warriors,
The FL Housing Justice Alliance has written the letter below to deliver to Governor DeSantis.
We kindly request you sign if you agree and share with others!
THIS LETTER WILL BE SENT TUESDAY 3/31***
*** Day Before Rent is Due & National Day of Action #CancelRent #CancelMortgages -- by 5 PM EST.***
FL Housing Justice Alliance is a movement of renters, mobile homeowners, people experiencing homelessness, advocates, and allies calling for housing justice. We are coming together to protect renters, promote community stabilization, and ensure healthy, affordable housing for all. The Florida Housing Justice Alliance members include Miami Workers Center, Community Justice Project, MHAction, Organize FL, SEIU FL, New Florida Majority, Family Action Network Movement (FANM), and Struggle for Miami’s Affordable and Sustainable Housing (SMASH), Florida Student Power (FLSP), and Catalyst Miami.
FL Housing Justice Alliance
Housing Justice Letter to Governor DeSantis
COVID-19 Response Needs
Dear Governor DeSantis:
On behalf of the Florida Housing Justice Alliance and the renters, manufactured home owners, and homeowners we represent, we ask that you immediately issue a series of bold Executive Orders ensuring housing security for Florida’s most vulnerable during this state of emergency and beyond.
As measures to prevent the spread of the COVID- 19 continue to drastically reduce economic activity and unprecedented level of layoffs, millions of Floridians face imminent eviction or foreclosure. Unless the state issues bold directives to address this, landlords and banks will continue to expect payments from both residential and commercial tenants, homeowners or business owners, despite the desperate economic circumstances they face. And the heightened vulnerability of people who are housing-insecure or currently homeless puts all Floridians at risk.
We are calling on you to take four immediate bold actions to ensure housing security:
1) Cancel mortgage and rent payments for the period of the emergency, plus 30 days. This must cover public and private properties, rental buildings and manufactured home communities, small business commercial property leases, and be coordinated with banks and lenders to reduce rents and mortgage payments to zero for the duration of the crisis, including any fees or interest payments, and fully forgiven as folks begin to get back on their feet. Section 8 vouchers and Public Housing Authorities should cover the full amount of rent during this period.
2) Moratorium on evictions and foreclosures for the period of the emergency, plus 30 days. This must include a moratorium on all foreclosures and evictions in both public and private housing, rental buildings and manufactured home communities, as well as small business commercial leases. It must also include a moratorium on utility shutoffs, and restoration of utility service for all households currently out of service. The Governor, judicial system, and sheriffs across the state must all act to ensure statewide moratorium on evictions and foreclosures. It is long overdue for the state to act.
3) Direct assistance to homeowners and renters. Government funding must prioritize direct assistance to our most vulnerable households, extremely and very low income households, and put money directly into the hands of community members to keep our neighbors and communities in place during this time of crisis. Rent and mortgage payments are forgiven, assistance for anyone affected by the pandemic and recovery efforts can cover applications, first month’s rent, and security deposits for those seeking shelter; as well as support for additional basic needs like food, utilities, and healthcare; and adequate funding for homes and expanded services for people experiencing homelessness.
4) House the Homeless. Florida must take unprecedented action to protect the vulnerable by converting vacant hotel/motel rooms, dorms, schools, hospitals, and large stadiums into housing for people who need it, including people experiencing homelessness, students in need of housing because returning “home” is unsafe or not possible, and people living in unsafe/unsanitary conditions. The state should use its emergency powers to exercise eminent domain, and incentivize local governments, colleges and universities to do the same, in order to claim private property suitable for habitation and make those spaces available for people in need of shelter. Efforts should also include setting up emergency sanitation sites for people who cannot move indoors; expansion of homelessness services; and issuing an immediate moratorium on encampment sweeps, closures, and vehicle tows.
These bold actions for housing security are essential in our fight to slow the spread of COVID-19, combined with guaranteed earned sick time, expanded unemployment benefits and accessible healthcare for all. Only by standing united behind our most vulnerable can we ensure our collective well being through this outbreak and rewrite the rules to ensure better health for us all for generations to come.
CC: City and County Mayors, Chief Judges, County Sheriffs