July 02, 2020

As Another Month of Rent is Due, Senator Hirono Cosponsors Bill to Extend Nationwide Eviction Moratorium

WASHINGTON, D.C. —Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii) cosponsored the Protecting Renters from Eviction and Fees Act, legislation introduced by Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) to extend and expand the federal eviction moratorium for renters set out in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act that is set to end on July 24, 2020. The bill would extend the existing moratorium on evictions from properties with federally-backed mortgages through March 27, 2021 and expand it to include nearly all renters. It also prohibits extra charges, fines, or fees related to the nonpayment of rent. This legislation is a component of the House-passed HEROES Act.

Though Governor Ige has extended the state eviction moratorium through July, Hawaii families will continue to face housing insecurity. More than 40 percent of Hawaii residents are renters, according to the 2017 American Community Survey. The University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization (UHERO) estimates that 44,000 Hawaii households will face difficulties in paying August rent.

“Yesterday once again families in Hawaii unfortunately joined millions of families across the country in making heartbreaking decisions about whether they should pay their rent or their bills. The Senate should act quickly to provide certainty that families won’t lose their homes while they continue social distancing. This is no time to take a pause on helping families,” Senator Hirono said.

Senator Hirono has called for more federal action to help families struggling to pay rent, and is a cosponsor of Senator Sherrod Brown’s (D-Ohio) Emergency Rental Assistance and Rental Market Stabilization Act, and Senator Jack Reed’s (D-R.I.) legislation to create a Housing Assistance Fund. Both bills would provide billions of dollars in financial assistance to keep families in their homes. In a Medium post in June, the Senator called for swift federal action to prevent a housing crisis.

The Protecting Renters from Eviction and Fees Act was also introduced in the House by Representatives Jesús G. "Chuy" García (D-Ill.) and Barbara Lee (D-Calif.).

Additional Senate cosponsors include Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Senators Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), and Kamala Harris (D-Calif.). 

The bill is endorsed by housing advocacy organizations, including the National Low Income Housing Coalition, National Housing Law Project, and Action Center on Race and the Economy.