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WASHINGTON, July 23, 2020 –Unless Congress acts,millionsof renters will be at risk of eviction starting tomorrow. That’s when the federal moratorium on evictions, which the federal government put in place at the beginning of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, expires. These protections covered most residents of federally-backed properties. (Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac haveextendeda moratorium on evictions for single-family properties that are financed by them until at least August 31, 2020.) U.S. PIRG has published anupdated guidewith tips on what to do about paying bills, including rent, during COVID-19.

The federal government already failed us by reopening the economy without enough testing, contact tracing or PPE in place. Now it’s on track to botch its response even more by allowing millions of people to be kicked out of their homes.

Public health professionals continue to urge people to stay at home as much as possible in order to contain the coronavirus. But how can people stay at home if they’ve been kicked out of it?

Congress must immediately expand protections against foreclosures and evictions to all consumers for the entire duration of the pandemic and for a reasonable recovery period. It’s unacceptable that they let us get so close to the edge of this cliff in the first place. People are beyond stressed as it is, and the moratorium is the only thing keeping many people in their homes.

If you are facing financial difficulties, talk to your landlord. Share your financial situation, suggest a payment arrangement, and explain how eviction would impact you. Get agreements for help in writing.

You may also want to consider contacting a HUD-approved housing counselor who can provide free or low-cost advice about your rental situation. You may qualify for free support from HUD-approved housing advisors, as part of Fannie Mae’s Disaster Response Network.

U.S. PIRG, the federation of state Public Interest Research Groups, is a consumer group that stands up to powerful interests whenever they threaten our health and safety, our financial security, or our rights to fully participate in our democratic society.  www.pirg.org