Caucuses call for immediate relief for renters and homeowners affected by COVID-19
CHICAGO (April 20, 2020) — On Monday, the Chicago City Council Progressive Reform Caucus and Chicago City Council Latino Caucus jointly supported two measures that will provide relief for landlords and tenants impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and the stay at home order.
These legislative measures mirror the most recent federal stimulus package in which Congress directed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to provide up to 12 months of mortgage forbearance — a temporary cessation of mortgage payments — to borrowers who are enduring financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. This move impacts approximately half of all mortgages nationwide.
“My colleagues and I have heard from dozens of tenants and homeowners who have lost work, rental income, and the capacity to make ends meet during the COVID-19 pandemic. We need a plan in place to ensure no one loses their home because of this unprecedented crisis,” said chief sponsor Alderman Matt Martin (47). “These measures help close the gap with private lenders that the Trump administration has failed to address.”
The resolution urges Governor JB Pritzker to help secure a commitment from non-federal mortgage lenders and servicers to offer at least 90 days of mortgage forbearance to borrowers who have lost income due to COVID-19. The resolution further calls upon these lenders and servicers to waive or refund mortgage-related late fees, as well as to forgo reporting the occurrence of late payments to credit reporting agencies.
The ordinance would provide renters who have lost income due to COVID-19 and who are unable to pay rent during the stay at home order with up to 12 months to pay that rent. In addition, the ordinance empowers renters to prevent landlords and prospective tenants from entering their homes without prior consent, in order to minimize the spread of COVID-19.
“The proposals we have introduced today will create more housing stability and support for our residents. In this unprecedented time, it is incumbent upon city government to find fair and equitable solutions for landlords and renters alike. We look forward to working with our colleagues at City Hall and in Springfield to lift impossible burdens that Chicago’s working families face,” said Alderman Felix Cardona (31).
Since the start of the stay at home order, approximately 1 in 12 Illinois workers have filed for unemployment. Many Chicago contractors and gig workers are still waiting to begin receiving benefits. The cumulative effect has been an unprecedented housing crisis. In April, approximately 83,000 Chicagoans applied for emergency rental relief. The city was only able to provide grants to 2,000 of them, or approximately 2% of applicants.
In the meantime, Springfield lawmakers have begun efforts to call for a doubling of the rental relief through the homeless prevention program utilizing funds from the federal economic stimulus package. The Chicago Progressive Reform Caucus joined them in these efforts last week by sending a letter to the Governor.
“Our constituents are looking to us for leadership right now. We need a plan in place that ensures all tenants and homeowners have a pathway to stay in their home,” said 4th District Illinois State Representative Delia Ramirez. “Keeping folks safe and in their homes is one of the most sacred responsibilities we have at this moment.”
On March 25, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced that approximately 200 national and state-chartered banks, credit unions, and servicers agreed to offer up to 90 days of mortgage forbearance to borrowers economically impacted by COVID-19. Two days later, the Los Angeles City Council passed an ordinance providing renters who have lost income due to COVID-19 with up to 12 months to pay unpaid rent accrued during that city’s emergency order.
The Progressive Reform Caucus includes Ald. Daniel LaSpata (1); Ald. Sophia King (4); Ald. Leslie Hairston (5); Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6); Ald. Susan Sadlowski-Garza (10); Ald. Stephanie Coleman (16); Ald. David Moore (17); Ald. Jeanette Taylor (20); Ald. Michael Rodriguez (22); Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez (25); Ald. Chris Taliaferro (29); Ald. Rossana Rodríguez-Sánchez (33); Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35); Ald. Felix Cardona, Jr. (31); Ald. Scott Waguespack (32); Ald. Andre Vasquez (40); Ald. Matt Martin (47); and Ald. Maria Hadden (49).
The Chicago City Council Latino Caucus includes Ald. Roberto Maldonado (26); Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35); Ald. Michael Rodriguez (22); Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez (25); Ald. Daniel La Spata (1); Ald. Susan Sadlowski-Garza (10); Ald. George Cardenas (12); Ald. Silvana Tabares (23); Ald Ariel Reboyras (30); Ald. Felix Cardona (31); Ald. Rossana Rodríguez-Sánchez (33); Ald. Gilbert Villegas (36): Ald. Andres Vazquez (40); and ex-officio member, Chicago City Clerk Anna M. Valencia