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Lawmakers seek more than a moratorium on rent, mortgages during COVID-19 State of Emergency

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(right) Maryland Governor Larry Hogan

Some Maryland state lawmakers are calling for the cancellation of rent and mortgage payments to help residents facing financial hardships amid the COVID-19 emergency. 

The 50 Democratic lawmakers have sent a letter to Governor Larry Hogan asking that he implement aggressive housing relief measures to mitigate the financial disaster millions could face if they miss payments because of the pandemic. The lawmakers are also asking for the creation of a Housing Relief Fund to help renters and homeowners. In a March 16 executive order, Governor Larry Hogan prohibited eviction during the state of emergency.

The emergency order prohibits Maryland courts from ordering the eviction of any tenant who can show that their failure to pay rent was the result of COVID-19—for example, because of lost or reduced unemployment, or needing to care for a school-aged child—or because they are diagnosed with, or under investigation for, COVID-19.

Hogan also issued (in more efforts to offer relief to individuals and families) several other executive orders that same day, including one that prohibits electric, gas, water, sewage, phone, cable TV, and internet service provider companies from shutting off any residential customer’s service, or charging any residential late fees.

NPR Reports The federal government has included some protections for housing in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, including a six-month moratorium on evictions that became effective March 27.

More than three-point-eight million workers filed first-time claims for unemployment benefits last week.  That means more than 30-million Americans have lost their jobs over the past six weeks amid the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.  The biggest number of claims were in Florida, Connecticut, West Virginia, Louisiana, and Texas.  The biggest decreases were in New York, California, Michigan, Georgia, and Washington.

The Maryland Department of Labor say unemployment claims are on the decline for the third consecutive week.  They're reporting 37-thousand-225 claims for the week of April 25th.  The Beacon website has undergone maintenance after residents complained that they couldn't submit claims.