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Coronavirus Updates: Ilhan Omar Proposes Rent, Mortgage Cancellation Act

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Rising unemployment numbers means many people are struggling to pay for some of the basics.

According to the National Multifamily Housing Council, 84% of apartment households made a full or partial rent payment from April 1 through April 12. That means 16% of all families living in apartments were unable to pay rent.

Those numbers are sparking action from lawmakers like Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, whose proposing a nationwide Rent and Mortgage Cancellation Act. It would cancel rent for people affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

The bill would constitute a full payment forgiveness, with no accumulation of debt for renters or homeowners and no negative impact on their credit rating or rental history. And the federal government would cover those rent payments, so the lenders would still get their money.

"We don't know when the congress will be back and take on the next relief package, we think it might happen in the next three to four weeks, that actually gives us an opportunity to push for this because in two weeks there is another rent that is due," Omar said.

This bill is co-sponsored by eight other democratic representatives. In Minneapolis, Mayor Jacob Frey is touting his plan to help renters.

"We know that there are so many family's on the break and we wanted to make sure we were able to provide emergency rental assistance so that they don't go homeless," Frey said.

That emergency assistance will come in the form of $3 million. The Minneapolis Gap Funds for Housing will start its application process next Wednesday, April 22.

The amount of assistance will depend on individual needs. Yet in most cases, the maximum payment will be $1,500 per household.

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