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DeLauro, Kennedy Introduce the We Need Eviction Data Now Act

July 24, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (CT-03) and Congressman Joe Kennedy III (MA-04) this week introduced H.R. 7743, the We Need Eviction Data Now Act of 2020, which would create a national database to standardize data and track evictions. This legislation would also establish a Federal Advisory Committee on Eviction Research to make recommendations related to eviction data collection and create policies to prevent the removal of families and individuals from their homes.  

In a recent article published by Reuters, Emily Benfer, co-creator of Princeton University’s Eviction Lab, predicted that “as many as 28 million people across the United States could be evicted in the coming months… nearly triple the estimated 10 million Americans who lost their homes during the years after the 2008 mortgage crisis.” Currently, the federal government has no way of tracking evictions, which would provide critical data for policymakers in crafting legislation to prevent evictions and identifying where resources should be sent.

“If the federal government does not step in quickly with additional measures to prevent evictions, we will surely see a wave of evictions across the country,” said Congresswoman DeLauro. “In addition to the hardship that comes with families losing their home, mass evictions, unlike anything we have seen in modern history, are expected to produce a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic. Not only is the federal government not prepared to support those who have been evicted, but we also do not even have a way of tracking this displacement. As a woman who was evicted from her home as a child, I know firsthand that the federal government should be tracking and preventing these traumatic events. I’m proud to join my colleague, Congressman Kennedy, in taking a step toward informing officials and policymakers on who needs federal resources and how we can protect families struggling to keep a roof over their heads.”

“We are days away from a wave of evictions that will sweep across the country and our federal government still refuses to see the daily injustice of uprooting families from their homes,” said Congressman Kennedy. "We cannot confront the trauma of an eviction crisis if we do not fully understand its reach and its disparate impacts on communities of color. With the We Need Eviction Data Now Act, we can force this Administration and our government to open their eyes to the devastation this practice causes and force Congress to respond.”

“Our nation is on the cusp of a tsunami of evictions and homelessness unless Congress acts to provide emergency rental assistance and other protections,” said Diane Yentel, President and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition. “This impending eviction crisis underscores the critical need for the ‘We Need Eviction Data Now Act,’ which would create a national database to track evictions, providing advocates and policymakers at all levels of government with the data they need to better ensure housing stability among America's lowest-income and most marginalized renters. We look forward to working with Representatives DeLauro and Kennedy to enact this legislation.”

“Long before the current pandemic, the U.S. was gripped by an eviction crisis,” said Shamus Roller, Executive Director for the National Housing Law Project. “Given the economic devastation wrought by Coronavirus, the We Need Eviction Data Now Act from Representatives DeLauro and Kennedy is more essential than ever to our efforts to curb the crisis. Currently, there is no system in place to measure the extent of the eviction crisis nationwide. Comprehensive data collection will help us combat the devastating effects of eviction on families, create more responsive policies, and reduce housing instability and homelessness.”

“Today in America, millions of renting families spend over half of their income on housing costs, with the threat of eviction always looming large,” said Matthew Desmond, award-winning author, Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City. “Passing the We Need Eviction Data Now Act would be a big step forward, deepening our understanding of the problem and preventing families from experiencing the devastating consequences of displacement. We know that preventing evictions and keeping families housed benefits not only those directly affected, but their communities as well. Everyone needs a safe and affordable home. I’m proud to support this bill, which will ultimately help policy makers target federal resources and protect working people and families across the country from the long-term harm of evictions.”

The CARES Act took steps to freeze evictions for federally subsidized housing and in property backed by government loans. The Heroes Act, which passed in the House but has not yet passed in the Senate, included a critical new 12-month moratorium on non-payment evictions from almost all rental housing. With the eviction moratorium set to expire on July 25, 2020, the federal government lacks the tools and methods to track evictions. This legislation would give lawmakers the data to target eviction resources and implement measures to protect all residents from evictions.

The We Need Eviction Data Now Act introduced by DeLauro and Kennedy is cosponsored by 17 House Democrats: Reps. Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC-AL), Deb Haaland (NM-01), Ilhan Omar (MN-05), Frederica S. Wilson (FL-24), Michael F.Q. San Nicolas (GU-AL), Alan Lowenthal (CA-47), Sylvia Garcia (TX-29), Jesús “Chuy” García (IL-04), Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12), Dwight Evans (PA-03), Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18), Jim Cooper (TN-05), Jahana Hayes (CT-05), Barbara Lee (CA-13), Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01), Tony Cárdenas (CA-29), and Abigail Spanberger (VA-07).