More than 100 members of Congress sent a letter this week asking for an immediate, nationwide moratorium on all foreclosures and evictions from properties owned, insured, or overseen by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in light of the coronavirus epidemic.
All told, these agencies account for more than 63 percent of all mortgages originated in the United States.
Among the signers from the Florida delegation were Democrat U.S. Reps. Charlie Crist, Val Demings, Ted Deutch, Alcee Hastings, Al Lawson and Donna Shalala.
The letter is below:
Dear Director Calabria, Secretary Carson, Secretary Wilkie, and Secretary Perdue:
We write to request that your agencies institute an immediate, nationwide moratorium on all foreclosures of, and evictions from, properties owned, insured, or overseen by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Department of Veterans Affairs, or the United States Department of Agriculture’s Rural Housing Service in light of the developing Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. This is a national emergency, and many occupants of federally-assisted housing will not be able to afford rent or mortgage payments through no fault of their own, as a direct result of emergency limitations put in place to safeguard public health.
This request is not without precedent; moratoriums of this nature have been imposed in the past when our nation has faced our darkest days. For example, after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico in 2017, HUD, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac instituted a temporary foreclosure moratorium for affected homeowners in Puerto Rico.
Much like a natural disaster, COVID-19 has already caused untold health, social, and economic damage in the United States and across the globe. During this time of uncertainty, it is imperative that your agencies impose a temporary moratorium on foreclosures and evictions to protect the countless Americans who have been, or soon will be, impacted by this evolving public health crisis.
As the number of infected individuals and the number of broken supply chains rises, we must take proactive steps to protect the millions of working-class families, low-income households, and minority communities who will be disproportionately affected as increasingly aggressive quarantine measures develop and are implemented on the local, state, and federal levels.
As you know, President Trump has now declared a national emergency under the Stafford Act. Accordingly, and consistent with this declaration, we urge all of you to immediately take steps to halt all foreclosures and evictions — whether new or pending — in order to protect millions of Americans during this crisis.