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Eviction during a Pandemic: Hope or Hopelessness?

Written by admin on . Posted in Blog, News

by Kelvin Lassiter

Evictions are more complicated than just the actual meaning. At its root cause, we may be able to list job loss, medical issues, and loss of spouse/domestic violence as examples that are at the surface. It’s bigger than someone failing to fulfill their obligation in exchange for not being on the street.

Estimated numbers of people at risk of eviction are staggering; 30 to 40 million in the next several months are at risk for becoming housing insecure according to the Aspen Institute. 

There are 3 things currently standing in the way of mass displacement due to eviction:

  • CDC moratorium
  • Local moratorium
  • Legal Aid and rental assistance 

On September 2, 2020, The Center for Disease Control Director Dr. Robert Redfield signed a declaration determining that the evictions of tenants could be detrimental to public health. This action was instrumental since the CARES Act moratorium expired in late July.

Some city and state governments issued eviction prevention moratoriums at the beginning of the public health emergency which have since expired.

Three main reasons why tenants are still being evicted from their homes:

  • Landlord intimidation of tenants
  • Tenants not aware of their rights as renters
  • Lack of legal representation in court 

Landlords have taken measures into their own hands during this public health crisis. While they depend on payments for survival, boarding up doors, shutting of utilities, and filing for eviction with the courts does not make a tenant speed up their ability to pay rent. The fine print on a lease may become a challenge to understand and it’s a tool used by management companies to evict.

What can be done to protect the American People?

A fifth coronavirus package to protect the American people, extending the CDC moratorium beyond December is pivotal in blocking the wave of evictions. An executive order by local, and state governments can potentially protect certain groups of Americans from evictions such as the elderly, and domestic violence survivors.

There are benefits for families to stay in their homes. Kids are able to focus in school and decrease the chance of suffering from lack of rest and food insecurity. Prevention of long term mental instability is also a plus.

Should we have hope in that a piece meal approach that has slowed down what’s inevitable? Or will people remain hopeless in the lack of assistance to help Americans sustain their quality of life?

Make no mistake, the United States will face a housing crisis not seen since the great depression regarding housing insecurity. Most moratoriums put in place at the beginning of the pandemic have expired causing massive amounts of eviction filings by landlords.

What will happen if the CDC moratorium on evictions is not extended past December 2020? The jury is still out on that answer, however, the American people must have a say, and challenge our elected officials to do what they were elected to do, legislate. 

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