“The sober reality is that there is no market-based or voluntary response that will adequately stem the tide of economic loss, displacement and profound suffering resulting from the pandemic,” read the letter, signed by dozens of House Democrats. “We urge you to leverage every tool at your disposal to protect Georgians who need help.”
One of the top recommendations calls for Kemp to order an immediate, renewable 60-day statewide moratorium on evictions and foreclosures as both a “moral priority” and a public health imperative.
Though more than 10,000 eviction cases were on hold in metro Atlanta during the health crisis, some county court systems recently resumed landlord-tenant hearings this week. Housing advocates worry it could trigger a wave of evictions that disproportionately affect the Black and Hispanic communities.
“This intervention is less disruptive to housing markets, to public health, and to the economy at large than allowing people out of work and clustered in vulnerable family units to be displaced haphazardly throughout the state,” the caucus wrote in the letter.
The caucus says Kemp should draw at least $46 million from Georgia’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families reserve fund for emergency housing assistance, and devote another $60 million in federal CARES Act funds to help renters stay in their homes.
To handle the surge in unemployment claims, Democrats demanded that Kemp “aggressively” hire additional Department of Labor staffers and a “one-time preliminary grant” of all jobless claims that have been pending for at least 30 days subject to a back-end review.
“We understand the severity of the crisis has brought with it an increase in the rancor of our state politics,” the caucus wrote. “But we write this memorandum because we each owe our constituents the duty of persistent, good-faith advocacy for the best public policy.”