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We see it every day at the Bairs Foundation: a catastrophic injury or sudden illness sets a family back so much that they struggle to keep a roof over their heads. This week, U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) introduced legislation that would help tenants avoid eviction when a sudden expense prevents them from paying rent.

Under the Prevent Evictions Act, tenants facing “small-dollar” evictions could enter federal grant-funded mediation with their landlord to address the issue outside of court. The act would also provide translators when needed and explore the possibility of a rent insurance program to cover rent in the event a tenant cannot pay. In a statement announcing the act, Senator Hassan pointed out why it’s not just the family who is impacted when they can’t make the rent; the entire community and its economy suffers, too.

A majority of the people who come to our foundation need help staying in their homes as they pursue justice. We offer them low-interest financial assistance, so they can make ends meet while they endure the course of their lawsuit. However, there are many others who face the threat of eviction for other unexpected reasons — thousands every year in Senator Hassan’s home state alone. A program like the one she is proposing would be a game changer.

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