Fear mounts over looming eviction crisis
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected everyone, but economically vulnerable families are hardest hit. These families are experiencing job loss and bringing home lower wages, in addition to being at higher risk for virus infection and death. The dire economic situation resulting from the COVID-19 shutdown has escalated resulting in a far-reaching eviction crisis.
Federal legislation was passed in the spring to mitigate the effects of the pandemic on these families. The CARES Act paid an extra $600 per week to people drawing unemployment and put a temporary moratorium on evictions. But now, the legislation is ending and struggling families fear the worst.
Eviction moratoriums are ending
As businesses closed to reduce viral spread, there was a precipitous rise in unemployment. Anticipating that many affected families could not afford their rent payments, the federal government put a moratorium on evictions. The federal eviction moratorium ended in July.
Several state and local governments enacted their own eviction moratoriums, and many of these are coming to an end as well. While some state and local moratoriums will be renewed, many will not. This puts millions of families at risk.
Growing unemployment exacerbates problem
Unemployment numbers jumped at the start of the pandemic and have increased more this summer. This is the clearest sign that millions of families are financially unstable and facing hardship.
Increasing unemployment, combined with the end of the eviction moratoriums, could spell disaster for vulnerable families. With no way to earn money, these families will default on rent payments. Landlords, many of whom cannot afford to provide free housing to their tenants, may begin evicting those that cannot pay in an effort to find renters who can pay.
Congress must act to avoid crisis
State and local measures will protect some vulnerable families from facing homelessness. But federal measures are the best way to prevent a widespread housing crisis from erupting. To avoid a massive spike in homelessness, Congress must find a solution to the looming crisis, and fast.