Two Los Angeles Councilmen echoed their call Thursday for the federal government to enact a suspension of rent payments through the duration of the coronavirus pandemic.

“To be safer at home, you must be able to be at home,” said Councilman Mike Bonin. “This is a public health crisis, and it is our responsibility to make sure everyone can comply so we can halt the spread of this virus.”

Bonin and Councilman David Ryu’s resolutions that the City Council approved Wednesday were supportive of halting mortgage and rent payments during the pandemic, including mortgages held by commercial property owners and small businesses, and to forgive any debt accrued by renters and mortgage-holders during the pandemic.

Ryu said the resolutions were to support the 22 million Americans who have filed for unemployment during the COVID-19 crisis.

“Many of them live right here in Los Angeles. Working people didn’t cause this pandemic, and they shouldn’t be thrown into unmanageable debt because of it,” Ryu said. “Enough bailing out the banks and corporations. We need federal support to go directly to the people who are hurting right now, and we need mortgage and rent forgiveness.”

The resolution joins similar legislation passed in San Francisco, Seattle, Boston and other cities calling for rent and mortgage relief, according to Ryu’s office.

Last Thursday, Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minnesota, introduced the Rent and Mortgage Cancellation Act, supported by Ryu and Bonin, to cancel rent and mortgage payments nationwide for the duration of the pandemic.

Only the federal government has the authority to issue rent and mortgage forgiveness. However, the City Council also approved a motion Thursday to amend the City’s Responsible Banking Ordinance to encourage banks that do business with the city to provide relief to mortgage holders, including rental property mortgage holders and their tenants during the pandemic.

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