On the same day that President Trump announced that the Housing and Urban Development Department would suspend foreclosures and evictions, State Representatives Mary Isaacson (D-Philadelphia) and Summer Lee (D-Allegheny) introduced similar legislation on a state level. Enshrining the order in state law, the Representatives believe, would prevent a great deal of stress in already trying times.
Currently, the hold on evictions is a one-off declaration by the President.
“Vulnerable workers need our protection now. During a state of disaster emergency due to an epidemic or pandemic, being unemployed, losing a job or being unable to search for a job is stressful enough,” Isaacson said. “Workers so affected should not have the added burden of fearing for the loss of their home.
“It is our responsibility as representatives to protect our workers, especially under the extraordinary circumstances arising when a state of disaster emergency is declared in the commonwealth.”
The legislation, if passed, will provide exemptions from eviction for those who are unemployed, separated from their employment, or unable to find employment when the Governor declares a state of disaster emergency. The legislation would also establish penalties for landlords who violate the order.
“We can’t close schools but discourage paid family leave, and we cannot encourage businesses to close and folks to lose a paycheck if their homes will be taken from them. That’s why as part of our shared response to the coronavirus we’re calling for a halt to eviction proceedings across Pennsylvania,” Lee said. “We cannot in good faith tell people to shelter in their homes if we allow their homes to be taken from them because of a legitimate public health emergency. We need – we must – do the right thing and secure housing for everyone for the duration of this global emergency.”