People and students of the Worker’s Circle of Boston and City Life Vida Urbana members are protesting at Massachusetts State House in Boston on March 14, 2021 to raise support for House Law HD3030, which aims to stop evictions during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Jim Davis | Boston Globe | Getty Images
Sabrina Floyd doesn’t know where she and her 3-year-old daughter Emeri are going when they are evicted from their Las Vegas home in late June.
After months of unemployment due to the coronavirus pandemic, the single mother has finally found teleworking for a credit company and is also in the process of filing an application for financial support for her rent arrears.
But it can all be too late.
The national eviction ban on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will be lifted in 20 days.
“I can’t afford a hotel,” said 27-year-old Floyd. “And you can only be there that long. Where are you going then?”
She fears that the recent advances she has made will be undone. “If I work from home and lose my home, I have nothing,” she said. “It looks dark at the moment as far as the future is concerned.”
Sabrina Floyd and her daughter Emeri.
Courtesy Sabrina Floyd
An unprecedented wave of evictions could hit the US if the CDC’s national eviction moratorium expires later this month. The ban was first enacted under the Trump administration in September 2020, and President Joe Biden has extended it twice since then.
There is no sign that he will do it again.
Even if the pandemic subsides and signs of normalcy return, more than 10 million Americans, or 14% of US renters, are behind with their home payments, according to a recent analysis by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
And more than 40% of those who are behind say it is “more likely” or “very likely” that they will have to evacuate in the next two months.
The CDC’s eviction moratorium has faced numerous legal challenges and landlords criticized the policy, saying they could not afford to house people for free or carry the land’s massive rent arrears, which could run up to $ 70 billion.
However, housing advocates say the ban will be lifted at a terrible time for owners and renters. States are trying to distribute the $ 45 billion in rental subsidies provided by Congress. This funding is unprecedented: according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, tenants received only $ 1.5 billion during the Great Recession.
“We’re just getting to the point where jurisdictions are making the money available to renters and landlords,” said Ann Oliva, senior fellow on the housing team at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
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For example, DeKalb County, Georgia, only paid out 3.5% of its rental subsidy fund this month.
“We have to keep this moratorium in place until we’ve spent all this money,” Mark Melton, a lawyer representing tenants in Dallas, told CNBC in May.
“If you save the tenant, it means you saved the landlord,” he said.
Who is at risk?
Eviction rates are likely to be higher in some states than others.
For example, according to the CBPP’s analysis, 26% of renters in Mississippi are behind on their home payments, compared to 7% in Oregon.
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In an interview last month, Alicia Mazzara, a senior research analyst on the housing policy team at CBPP, said there were several reasons for these differences.
“Some states had major housing affordability issues before the pandemic,” she said.
“Another likely factor would be the state’s economy – we know, for example, that the pandemic has resulted in job losses being very much concentrated in the restaurant and hospitality industry,” added Mazzara. “The jobs hardest hit by the pandemic may be a greater proportion in some state economies than others.”
Across the country, black tenants are more than twice as likely to be in arrears with white tenants. “The pandemic has exacerbated racial inequality,” Mazzara said.
Households with children are also twice as likely to report problems paying their rent as households without children. “People with children have to rent larger houses and apartments, which are more expensive,” said Mazzara.
Single parents renting out, most of whom are women, face some of the greatest hardships. More than 26% say they failed to collect their rent.