By Natasha Brown

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — More help could be on the way for renters and homeowners struggling to pay their bills during the pandemic. New legislation calls for extending the ban on evictions.

As many as 240,000 Pennsylvanians are at risk of possibly losing their homes on Jan. 31 but some lawmakers are trying to make sure that doesn’t happen.

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Several state senators are joining forces to ensure that thousands of Pennsylvanians aren’t left homeless in the midst of a pandemic.

“What our proposal does is extends the moratorium for evictions and foreclosures for 60 days after the governor ends his disaster declaration,” said Sen. Vincent Hughes.

Sen. Hughes says without an extension the housing crisis, which began long before the health crisis, will be exacerbated.

“Our numbers indicate that it’s approximately 240,000 people in Pennsylvania who are threatened with potential eviction,” he said.

“The right to housing must be considered a basic human right,” said Sen. Nikil Saval.

Lawmakers hope the extension would give people time to get back on their feet as unemployment and COVID cases continue to rise. Without some relief, they believe the state would face dire economic consequences.

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“It is a fact that evictions in Pennsylvania alone will swell the homeless population and bear an estimated cost to our state of $2.8 billion,” Sen. Saval said.

Tenants’ rights advocates are fighting for the extension on moratorium evictions, dealing with families on a daily basis fearing homelessness.

“I can’t imagine what anybody is going through with facing eviction during this time. Facing eviction is an all-consuming nightmare,” one woman said.

This is a bill being spearheaded by Democratic senators but they say that it does seem to be getting bipartisan support because this is certainly not a partisan issue, this is an issue affecting the entire commonwealth.

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