Rent/Mortgage Freeze for Guam

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We are a group of Guam’s workers who are completely without income, or who have lost most of their household income, due to COVID-19. We are not alone, as non-salary workers in government, hospitality, the gig and informal economies, and the freelancers and the self-employed are all impacted.

While the island is on lockdown for our collective wellbeing, all community families need the assurance that they will not be evicted or that they will go into foreclosure in the coming weeks. In addition, we are afraid that a moratorium on evictions and utilities is not enough. Without income or an aid package to match that lost income, we will be bearing an overwhelming financial burden of utility and rent back bills. Lack of housing and utilities is a public health risk and will further exacerbate the spread of the virus. We need to be able to wash our hands, refrigerate our food, cook our meals, and care for our elderly and disabled family members. In addition, we need to ensure we continue to have basic means of transportation and communication for our own safety, and continued ability to achieve income after the crisis.

There is no way for us to make up our lost weeks of income, and if we are evicted either now or at the conclusion of the state of emergency, it will still negatively impact our families and the state of public health. We implore immediate action from our leaders to ensure that all of our island's workers, who are also some of the most economically vulnerable population, are able to keep their housing.

We respectfully request these emergency measures:

 

(1) Enact a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures that lasts the entire time Guam is in a State of Public Health Emergency.

 

(2) Enact a moratorium on all utility shut-offs that lasts the entire time Guam is in a State of Emergency.

 

(3) Suspend rent charges for the duration of the State of Emergency, or failing that, ensure that no one will ever be evicted, have their home foreclosed, or have utilities shut-off, neither now nor after the crisis has abated, due to non-payment that occurred during the State of Emergency. Require landlords, banks, and utility companies to accept partial payment, payment plans, and grant payment forgiveness to residents unable to pay during the State of Emergency, and require that landlords, banks, and utility companies never retaliate against residents for such situations.

 

(4) If possible, provide emergency assistance funds to people unable to pay rent, mortgages, or utility bills.

 

(5) Freeze all rent and utility prices at current levels (as of March 22, 2020) until the end of the State of Emergency.

 

(6) Freeze vehicle loan payments and basic phone service payments until the end of the State of Emergency.

 

Together, these measures provide basic protections for residents during the COVID-19 outbreak. We desperately  need them to ensure our public health, personal stability and unity as as island.

 

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