Will Millions of Americans Lose Their Homes This Weekend?
As many as 6 million Americans are in danger of losing their homes when a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures expires July 31st.
State and local governments were granted $46.5 billion in January to help renters and landlords. But distribution has been a challenge. According to The Wall Street Journal, they have only dispersed $3 billion so far.
In most states, the programs needed to distribute aid did not exist before the pandemic. They put them together during a time when many people did not feel comfortable working with the public.
“The capacity to process applications does not match the volume of need,” laments Jim MacDonald, an investment officer for United Way of Greater Kansas City – a charity tasked with the distribution of $30 million.
To complicate matters, many people were denied aid because they failed to submit the application – which requires proof of income – on time. Others didn’t even know aid was available.
“I would say there’s a lack of communication between the state and everyone,” says Ellen Davidson, an attorney from New York. “Meanwhile, the eviction moratorium is ending and they got the first amount of money from the federal government in January. It’s six months later.”
Advocates have appealed to President Biden to extend the eviction ban, especially considering the recent uptick in COVID cases.
“We will see a historic wave of evictions and housing instability this summer and fall” unless further action is taken to assist renters, argues Diane Yentel, president of the National Low Income Housing Coalition.
Roughly 11.4 million Americans are behind on rent; 80% of them live in regions experiencing a surge in Delta cases.
“The CDC eviction moratorium is a necessary public health measure to lessen spread of/deaths from COVID-19,” tweeted Yentel. “The need clearly remains as Delta surges & 6m renter households remain behind on rent & at risk of eviction when moratorium expires.”
The CDC issued its eviction ban in September 2020 to make it easier for Americans to comply with lockdown recommendations. They also wanted to prevent an increase in homelessness during the pandemic. The CDC extended the ban three times.
Last week, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati ruled the eviction ban unlawful based on the CDC’s lack of authority to issue it. The vote was unanimous.
Per the ruling, judges in Kentucky, Ohio, and Tennessee are no longer bound by the moratorium. The Biden Administration is allowing homeowners to extend the length of existing mortgages. But it says it will not extend the moratorium on evictions.