Staying Home for the Holidays: Homeowners and Renters Press for Relief
Virtual rally promotes passage of ‘People’s Bill’ to prevent mass foreclosures and evictions

November 20, 2020

New Jersey homeowners and renters held a virtual rally in support of legislation aimed at preventing mass foreclosures and evictions as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The “People’s Bill” would outline clear repayment standards for tenants who were forced to miss their rent due to the pandemic and would require mortgage forbearance options for homeowners who have struggled to stay afloat during and after the public health emergency. Over 100 people participated in the online event, calling, texting and tweeting their State Senators to urge movement on the bill.

“As a nonprofit affordable housing developer and property manager, people are our number one priority,” said Jane Sarwin, director of community development, Region Nine Housing. “Right now, countless New Jerseyans are struggling financially due to the extreme economic circumstances resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. We can change this story. Each of us has the opportunity RIGHT NOW to create meaningful change, be generous, and help those affected by COVID-19 keep a roof over their heads.”

“All income levels have been affected by COVID-19,” said bill prime sponsor Assemblywoman Britnee Timberlake (D-Essex/Passaic). “Pink-slips have been received whether you wear a white-collar or a blue-collar, whether you work for a non-profit or a for-profit, there are people still out of work and some still waiting for their unemployment. This bill is fair, this bill is just, this bill is needed. It’s time to put people over politics and get this bill passed.”

"Unfortunately, some landlords aren't being good partners with their tenants,” said Assembly Housing Committee Chair Benjie Wimberly (D-Bergen/Passaic) “With the uptick in COVID cases, we're looking at a lengthy amount of time that we're going to need the eviction protection in place. It makes it that much more important that we get the People's Bill signed into law.”

A version of the bill has already been approved by the Assembly and has support from Governor Murphy. It allows tenants and homeowners more time to pay what they owe while protecting them from eviction due to COVID-related losses. The legislation sets rental repayment standards, requires mortgage forbearance, and, in the most recent version provides smaller landlords with additional financial relief. It would keep New Jerseyans in their homes as we approach another wave of the pandemic, according to supporters.

“New Jersey must take decisive action to prevent a wave of pandemic-related foreclosures and evictions by enacting S2340 without delay. We have spent countless hours over the last few weeks negotiating provisions with sponsors in both houses and an array of stakeholders,” said Staci Berger, president and chief executive officer of the Housing and Community Development Network of NJ. “These changes won bi-partisan approval in the upper chamber on October 30 and deserve a full vote in the Legislature right away.”

“While we’re all bracing for a second wave of COVID, the working families who have lost income are facing a second wave of stress and struggle and we have yet to provide security for New Jerseyans hit by the economic impact of COVID, said Amanda Devecka-Rinear, executive director of the New Jersey Organizing Project. “As the holidays approach the least we can do is let folks know they can take a break from worrying about if they will have a home.”

“This latest delay adds to the stress and strain families are facing as the second round of COVID batters our state and our communities,” said Maria Lopez-Nuñez, Deputy Director of Organizing and Advocacy of Ironbound Community Corporation. “The health crisis and the housing affordability disproportionately affect Black and Brown residents, and continued delay on this legislation speaks volumes about how seriously our leaders are taking their commitment to address racial inequities at this critical time.”

Over 150 organizations, working together as Compassionate NJ, support the legislation, along with local elected officials and community leaders. The campaign has worked closely with People’s Bill sponsors and other stakeholders to advance the bill. For more information, visit the Compassionate NJ Facebook page at

For more information: Nina Rainiero
(609) 393-3752 x1200
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