Millions of Americans could face eviction as housing protection expires in June
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More than 11 million Americans are behind on their rent, and many could be evicted from their homes when the nation’s eviction ban expires in June.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s moratorium on evictions, which has been in effect since September, will be lifted on June 30. far from perfect to keep tenants housed, it reduced the normal number of eviction requests during the same period by at least half, according to Peter Hepburn, assistant professor of sociology at Rutgers-Newark University and researcher at The Eviction Lab.
Experts say the number of evictions could skyrocket when the ban is lifted. About 15% of adult renters are not up to date on their housing payments, according to Center analysis on budget and policy priorities
“We will see what we managed to avoid: this wave of evictions which will only crush some of these areas,” said John pollock, coordinator of the National Coalition for a Civil Right to Legal Assistance.
The moratorium on CDC evictions faced many legal challenges and landlords criticized the policy, saying they couldn’t afford to house people for free or shoulder the country’s massive rent arrears, which could reach $ 70 billion.
Yet housing advocates say the ban is lifted at a terrible time for landlords and tenants, with states still scrambling to distribute the $ 45 billion in housing assistance assigned by Congress to deal with the crisis. (This funding is unprecedented: tenants received just $ 1.5 billion during the Great Recession, according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition.)
“We have to let this moratorium stay in place until we spend all this money,” said Mark Melton, a lawyer who has represented tenants facing pro bono eviction in Dallas.
“If you bail out the tenant, that means you’ve bailed out the landlord,” he said.
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Heather Jordan has been approved for housing assistance in Missouri, but it could take weeks for the money to reach her landlord, who has already moved to evict her.
“If you have the moratorium in place, it gives you time to charge the landlord,” said Jordan, 48, who fell behind on his $ 1,475 rent after losing his sales job shortly before. the pandemic. His wife is disabled and cannot work.
If she and her family, including his wife, two children and two grandchildren, are evicted from their home in St. Louis, she does not know where they will go. She has lived there for nine years and finding a landlord to rent to her with an eviction on her file will be difficult.
“We will be homeless,” she said.
Eviction rates are likely to be higher in some states than in others.
For example, nearly one in four renters is behind on housing payments in Florida and South Carolina, compared to 6% in Maine and Kentucky, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
Alicia Mazzara, a senior research analyst with the housing policy team at CBPP, said there are multiple reasons for these disparities.
“Some states were already facing greater housing affordability issues before the pandemic,” she said.
“Another likely factor would be the state’s economy – for example, we know that the pandemic has resulted in a high concentration of job losses in the restaurant and hospitality sector,” Mazzara added. “The jobs most affected by the pandemic may represent a larger share of some state economies than others.”
Across the country, black renters are almost four times more likely to be behind on their rent than white renters.
“The pandemic has exacerbated racial inequalities,” Mazzara said.
Low-income households also report more difficulty paying their rent. “Anyone who before the pandemic lived paycheck to paycheck is going to be vulnerable,” Pollock said.
Older Americans are yet another vulnerable group.
According to a recent count, more than 100,000 of people over 65 said they expected to be deported within the next two months. Almost 450,000 renters aged 55 to 64 have said the same thing.
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