Isaacson, Lee to introduce legislation to stop evictions during pandemic

HARRISBURG, March 17 — As Pennsylvania mobilizes to confront the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, state Reps. Mary Isaacson and Summer Lee are moving to introduce legislation that would halt eviction proceedings across the commonwealth, giving families one measure of security in the rapidly evolving crisis.

“Vulnerable workers need our protection now. During a state of disaster emergency due to an epidemic or pandemic, being unemployed, losing a job or being unable to search for a job is stressful enough,” Isaacson said. “Workers so affected should not have the added burden of fearing for the loss of their home.

“It is our responsibility as representatives to protect our workers, especially under the extraordinary circumstances arising when a state of disaster emergency is declared in the commonwealth.”

The duo’s legislation would provide an exemption from eviction for workers who are unemployed, separated from their employment or unable to find employment when an epidemic or pandemic requires the Governor to declare a state of disaster emergency. Landlords in violation will face penalties.

“We can’t close schools but discourage paid family leave. And we cannot encourage businesses to close and folks to lose a paycheck if their homes will be taken from them. That’s why as part of our shared response to the coronavirus we’re calling for a halt to eviction proceedings across Pennsylvania,” Lee said. “We cannot in good faith tell people to shelter in their homes if we allow their homes to be taken from them because of a legitimate public health emergency.

“We need – we must – do the right thing and secure housing for everyone for the duration of this global emergency.”