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LA City Councilmen Push Congress On Rent, Mortgage Forgiveness Legislation

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) - Members of the Los Angeles City Council are calling on Congress to move forward with legislation that would grant rent and mortgage forgiveness to millions of renters, homeowners and commercial property owners impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a letter addressed to House Financial Services Committee chair Rep. Maxine Waters, Councilmember David Ryu called for a temporary suspension and forgiveness of mortgage payments for both single-family residences and commercial residential properties, including small businesses).

Ryu also called for a "suspension and forgiveness of rent, full or partial, for all renters or, at least, those impacted by the Coronavirus".

Pointing to eviction moratoriums already in place in several jurisdictions for both mortgage and rent, Ryu says "the eventual payback requirements will be impossible" for the vast majority of those affected

"The economy around working people has collapsed. Every level of government must help working people focus on what matters: Their health, their family, and putting foRod on the table," Ryu said. "Not bills that they can't pay and debt that they can't manage."

Ryu's letter joins similar campaigns such as #CancelRent, #CancelMortgages and others calling for an immediate cancellation of rent and mortgage payments through the duration of the coronavirus emergency.

The California Apartment Association, the state's largest group representing owners, released a statement reading in part: "Calls for a general rent strike — where nobody pays the rent and back rent never gets paid — are irresponsible, unethical and illegal."

But for protesters such as Jasmine Franco, renters feel like they don't have any other options.

"They are literally trying to decide if they are going to buy groceries for the week or pay rent because they don't know what's going to happen in a couple of weeks," Franco said.

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