Congresswoman Cori Bush knows what it feels like to owe her landlord thousands of dollars because she can’t afford to pay rent. She has not only been evicted twice in her 45 years on earth, in 2015, but Bush was also sued by her landlord after not paying thousands of dollars in rent.
Bush said at one point, she was homeless, living out of a car with her children.
“I know what it’s like to be evicted and have to live out of my car with my two babies,” Bush said in an interview Saturday. “As long as I am a sitting U.S. congressperson, I will not keep my mouth shut about it.”
In 2015, Bush was sued by her landlord in St. Louis and was forced to pay $3,167.25 including court fees to Brittany Town Homes, a lawyer representing her landlord.
This week, Bush sent a letter to her colleagues in Congress to pass a moratorium on evictions.
Here’s the letter:
As elected representatives, we have a solemn obligation to protect the health and safety of our constituents, using every tool at our disposal. We cannot in good conscience leave for August recess until the federal eviction moratorium has been extended.
We must do everything possible to protect the nearly 6.2 million households at risk of eviction. I’m urging you to please hear me out on this issue because as a formerly unhoused Congresswoman, I have been evicted three times myself. I know what it’s like to be forced to live in my car with my two children. Now that I am a member of Congress, I refuse to stand by while millions of people are vulnerable to experiencing that same trauma that I did.
I remember what it was like for us to live out of my car. I think about how society wanted me to believe that being unhoused was my fault. We have a deeply rooted misconception in our country that unhoused people have done something to deserve their conditions – when the reality is that unhoused people are living the consequences of our government’s failure to secure the basic necessities people need to survive. In the wealthiest country in the world-no one deserves to be unhoused.
I commend Chairwoman Waters for her strong leadership on this issue, and fully support H.R. 4791, the Protecting Renters from Evictions Act of 2021, which would extend the CDC eviction moratorium through December 31, 2021. In the interest of saving as many lives as possible right now, I am also prepared to support legislation that keeps this protection in place through October.
I urge all of my Democratic colleagues in the House to support this effort too. If Congress does not act now, the fallout of the eviction crisis will undoubtedly set us backwards as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to ravish our communities – needlessly contributing to more death and suffering. After the loss of nearly 600,000 Americans due to this pandemic, lawmakers need to be held to the highest levels of accountability to enact legislation that protects human life. I know firsthand the trauma and devastation that comes with the violence of being evicted, and we have a responsibility to do everything we can to prevent this trauma from being inflicted on our neighbors and communities. Extending the federal eviction moratorium as quickly as possible is the least we can do for those in our communities who need our help the most.
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