September 17, 2019

Van Hollen, Hassan, Kaine Introduce Legislation to Address Eviction Crisis

Today, U.S. Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), and Tim Kaine (D-Va.) introduced legislation to address the eviction crisis. The Prevent Evictions Act – which is backed by Matthew Desmond, author of the Pulitzer Prize winning book Evicted – would support cost-effective solutions to keep families in their homes, including through landlord-tenant mediation programs and rent insurance programs.

 “Far too many families across the country face financial instability and the fear of eviction. This legislation will help keep families in their homes and ultimately promote stronger communities. I will continue working to expand affordable housing options and promote economic opportunity for all Marylanders,” said Senator Van Hollen, a member of the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs.

“When a family is kicked out of their home because an unexpected expense prevented them from making the rent that month, the entire community – and economy – suffers,” said Senator Hassan. “The Prevent Evictions Act would provide support to help landlords and tenants reach fair agreements that keep families in their homes.”

“Richmond, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, and Chesapeake have among the highest eviction rates in the country. Eviction can result when just one unexpected cost – like a car repair or health bill – prevents a family from paying rent.  As a civil rights lawyer in Richmond, I saw firsthand what evictions did to families and the work they were trying to do to build their futures. If we can give families another chance to make rent before an eviction puts them on the street, we have to do it,” said Senator Kaine.

"The lack of affordable housing is a wellspring for many other social problems, from poor health and family stress to poverty and educational inequality,” said Matthew Desmond, author of Evicted. “Millions of American are evicted from their homes every year, but this problem is utterly fixable. This bill would go a long way to reducing family homelessness and stabilizing communities.”  

The Prevent Evictions Act would:

  • Create a landlord-tenant mediation grant program to bring landlords and tenants to the table to find informal, mutually agreed upon solutions that keep tenants in their homes
  • Provide grant funding for translators, ensuring that all individuals have the ability to participate
  • Direct the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development to study the potential for certain types of rent insurance to be cost-effective eviction mitigation tools