The Biden administration announced Thursday it would allow the nationwide ban to expire, saying it wanted to extend it due to rising infections but its hands were tied after the U.S. Supreme Court signaled in June that it wouldn't be extended beyond the end of July without congressional action.
On Friday, House lawmakers tried to pass a bill that would have extended the moratorium for just a few more months, but failed. Some Democratic lawmakers wanted the moratorium extended to the end of the calendar year.
Jeffrey Hearne, director of litigation Legal Services of Greater Miami, Inc., stated that August will be a difficult month. Hearne said that many people will be forced from their homes. The... moratorium protects a lot of people.
According to Princeton University's Eviction Laboratory, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention put into place a moratorium in September to stop the spread of coronavirus. It is believed to have kept 2 million people in their homes during the worst year of the pandemic. Eviction moratoriums in New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Illinois, California, Washington, D.C. will continue to be in effect until they expire later in the year.
Elsewhere, the federal moratorium has been lifted and evictions could start Monday. This will lead to years of evictions spread over many weeks, and the worst housing crisis since before the Great Recession.
Roxanne Schaefer is among the millions who fear homelessness. She already has a host of health problems, including a bone disorder and respiratory problems.
After her girlfriend lost her job as a dishwasher during the pandemic, she now lives in a rundown and sparsely furnished Rhode Island apartment. Schaeffer claims that the apartment is infested by mice and cockroaches and has squirrels in it, with boxes containing their belongings.
In January, her landlord tried to evict her. He refused federal rental assistance. The CDC moratorium is what he can't do to change the locks and evict her. The $800 monthly disability payment she receives won't cover the cost of a new apartment. She has only $1,000 saved.
"I have anxiety. I feel anxious. Schaefer, a West Warwick resident, said that he can't sleep because he fears being thrown on the streets. "If he does that, you know, I'll lose everything and be homeless." "I'll be homeless."
According to the Aspen Institute, more than 15 million people are in households that owe their landlords as much as $20 Billion. According to the U.S Census Bureau's Household Pulse Survey, 3.6 million Americans faced eviction within the next two-months as of July 5.
The worst impacts will likely be felt in the South and other areas with lower tenant protections. Communities of color will also be hardest hit, as their vaccination rates can sometimes be lower. But advocates say this crisis is likely to have a wider impact than pre-pandemic evictions, reaching suburban and rural areas and working families who lost their jobs and never before experienced an eviction.
Kristen Randall, a Pima County constable, Arizona who will be taking responsibility for the evictions, said, "I know personally many people evicted"
She said, "These are people who have already tried to find new housing or a new apartment or moved in with their families." I know of quite a few people who plan to stay in their cars, or are considering making reservations at shelters. Our shelter space has been reduced because of the pandemic.
"We will see more people on the streets than usual." This is very unfortunate.
The crisis is expected to get worse in September, when the first foreclosure proceedings will begin. According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, 1.75 million homeowners are currently in some form of forbearance with their banks. This is approximately 3.5% of all homes. Comparatively, 10 million homeowners lost homes to foreclosure in 2008 after the burst of the housing bubble.
The Biden administration had hoped that historic amounts of rental assistance allocated by Congress in December and March would help avert an eviction crisis.
But so far, only about $3 billion of the first tranche of $25 billion had been distributed through June by states and localities. The states will receive $21.5 billion more. Although disbursement speed increased in June, some states such as New York have not distributed much. Others have approved only a few millions.
"We are on the verge of catastrophic levels housing displacement across the nation that will only increase public health risk," stated Emily Benfer, a Wake Forest University law professor and chair of the Task Force on Equity, Housing Stability, and Eviction.
Some areas will experience a surge in evictions in the next few days. Other jurisdictions will see an increase of court filings which will eventually lead to evictions in several months.
It's almost impossible to comprehend. Benfer stated that we are at the brink of a national eviction crisis, which can be prevented if more rental assistance is distributed.
"The only thing that stands between millions of tenants being evicted and their landlords is an eviction moratorium, even though rental assistance applications are still pending. The situation will get dire if this vital public health tool is removed on Saturday just as the delta variant surges.
Many tenants who are struggling will be forced to leave a hot housing market, where prices have risen and vacancy rates have fallen.
Many will find it difficult to find new apartments due to back rent and eviction records. Many will be in debt.
Communities that they live in will also be affected by evictions. Evicted families are more likely to suffer from a variety of health issues, including higher infant mortality rates, high blood pressure, and suicide. Taxpayers often pay the cost of providing social services, homeless services, and health care. According to a study done by the National Low Income Housing Coalition and the Innovation for Justice Program at Arizona, pandemic-related expulsions could cost $129 billion.
Schaefer in Rhode Island has had difficulty understanding why her landlord refused federal rental assistance. Many landlords have challenged the moratorium in court and won. They argue that the economy is improving, and coronavirus cases in most areas are down. Tenants who refuse to accept rental assistance do so for many reasons, not least because they want to be evicted.
Schaefer stated, "It's certainly not that I want to live here for free." "I understand that you have to pay for where you live and go. But, I just want to be reasonable."
"Why don't you accept rent relief?" She added, "They pay." The paperwork says that they will pay two months in advance. I will have my money back by then, at least two months before the move.