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State House Rally calls for an eviction moratorium and rental assistance

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“We are in a precarious situation as we enter a phased reopening while continuing to deal with the effects brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Rhode Islanders need now more than ever to be housed in order to maintain their health and security.”

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As Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo addressed the press and the public during her daily COVID-19 press briefing on Thursday, outside over two dozen automobiles were circling the State House as part of a rally to call for an eviction moratorium.

Evictions in Rhode Island are scheduled to begin again on Monday, June 1. According to Governor Raimondo at the press briefing, an agreement has been made with the District Court to limit court proceedings only for evictions begun before March 17, the first day of COVID-19 restrictions in Rhode Island. COVID-19 related evictions are being delayed until July 1.

In add-on to the cars circling the State House, a small number of protesters held signs along Smith Street. These protesters wore masks and were properly socially distanced.

UpriseRI spoke with Elena Scorpio, who requested that people sign a petition to convince Governor Raimondo “to issue an executive order that will institute a complete eviction moratorium, as well as cancel all rents and mortgages, including for small businesses, and forgive all payments due during the time of the state of emergency and for 120 days after it is lifted.”


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As the rally continued at the State House, the organizers of the event, Direct Action for Rights and Equality (DARE) and Tenant Network RI broadcast a livestream on Zoom and Facebook.

Organizers write:

“We are demanding a complete eviction moratorium, cancellation of rent and mortgage payments, and forgiveness of all prior rent and mortgage payment obligations during the declared state of emergency and for 120 days after it is lifted.”

In addition to action from the Governor, organizers are also urging the Rhode Island General Assembly “to take up a comprehensive bill that replicates the language proposed in H.R. 6515Emergency Rent and Mortgage Cancellation Act of 2020‘ as introduced by Representative Ilhan Omar.

“Provisions of this bill include:

  • No evictions for nonpayment of rents and mortgages
  • A prohibition on fines and fees for nonpayment
  • No accrual of debt for past nonpayment, forgiving any rent payments due during the declared state of emergency
  • A Relief Fund to assist landlords and to reimburse any payments made during the state of emergency

“We are in a precarious situation as we enter a phased reopening while continuing to deal with the effects brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Rhode Islanders need now more than ever to be housed in order to maintain their health and security.”