Senator Novelle E. Francis Jr. recently wrote to Governor Albert Bryan Jr. urging him to declare a rent moratorium in the Virgin Islands to ensure that residents will not be evicted from their homes upon the Dec. 31 expiration of an eviction ban implemented by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Francis is appealing to the governor to issue an executive order to prohibit tenant evictions through Feb. 6, 2021, which is the end of the current state of emergency.
The senator says the local government must act quickly to protect its residents since there is no certainty that the federal government will extend the eviction ban, which was intended to halt the further spread of COVID-19. According to Francis, a rent moratorium has an added urgency during this time while the territory experiences a surge in COVID-19 cases.
“While it is entirely possible that the CDC will extend the moratorium, I believe it is important for local government to take its own steps to reassure Virgin Islanders during this critical time. Our own shortage of emergency housing and other safety nets to support those at risk reinforces the need to implement a local eviction moratorium,” he said. “No one should have to spend the holidays worrying if they will have a roof over their heads in the New Year.”