On Tuesday, Congresswoman Cori Bush, Senator Elizabeth Warren, and over three dozen of their colleagues introduced the Keeping Renters Safe Act of 2021 to enact an urgently needed nationwide eviction moratorium.
In direct response to the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down President Biden’s initial eviction moratorium on the grounds that the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) lacked the statutory authority to mandate such a moratorium, the Keeping Renters Safe Act of 2021 would clarify that the HHS Secretary does permanently retain the authority to implement an eviction moratorium in the interests of public health.
“Housing is a human right, not a bargaining chip to let fall between bureaucratic cracks,” said Congresswoman Bush. “Nearly 40 million Americans have tested positive for COVID-19. Over 670,000 people have died of this virus, and countless are living permanently disabled from its aftereffects. As the Delta variant continues to force individuals to quarantine, close schools, and stifle businesses, we must do all we can to save lives.”
“That starts with keeping every person safely housed. The Keeping Renters Safe of 2021 will save lives and give us more time: time for renters to receive financial assistance, time for the economy to fully recover, and time for the pandemic to finally come to an end. I’m humbled to introduce this critical, actionable legislation with Senator Warren and so many of my colleagues,” Bush added.
The Keeping Renters Safe Act of 2021 will protect renters from eviction and curb the spread of COVID-19 by:
- Amending section 361 of the Public Health Service Act to grant permanent authority to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to implement a residential eviction moratorium to address public health crises.
- Directing HHS to implement a national residential eviction moratorium in response to COVID-19 that:
- Must be automatic, without requiring individuals to apply for coverage.
- Applies to all residential eviction filings, hearings, judgments, and execution of judgments.
- Allows the Secretary to establish appropriate moratorium exceptions necessary to protect the health and safety of others.
- Remains in effect at least 60 days following the conclusion of the public health emergency.
“This pandemic isn’t over, and we have to do everything we can to protect renters from the harm and trauma of needless eviction, which upends the lives of those struggling to get back on their feet,” said Senator Warren. “Pushing hundreds of thousands of people out of their homes will only exacerbate this public health crisis, and cause economic harm to families, their communities, and our overall recovery. Congress must pass the Keeping Renters Safe Act of 2021 to put the eviction moratorium back in place and clarify that HHS has the authority to protect renters throughout this public health crisis. Safe housing saves lives.”