'Homeless pandemic': 30 million Americans are at risk of eviction
US President Donald Trump has signed an executive order obliging administration officials "to take all legal measures to prevent evictions and foreclosures of mortgages as a result of financial hardship caused by COVID-19." But this decree does not prevent the eviction of tenants. Writes about it NPR.
According to the decree, officials need to determine the amount of funds that could be used to help needy tenants.
But Trump's decree does not explicitly prohibit evictions or provide rental assistance, and most activists say it will do little to stem the looming wave of evictions.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic broke out, Congress and many state governments have imposed eviction bans to protect thousands of people who suddenly lost their jobs from being evicted.
These bans are now expiring in most states, as is the extra money for unemployment benefits, and Congress has been unable to agree on a bill that would extend them.
“We're at a point where people still haven't returned to work, most benefits have ended, and rent is payable,” says Zach Neumann of the Aspen Institute, who founded the eviction protection project.
Neumann estimates that of the 110 million Americans who live in rented housing, at least 30 million will be at risk of eviction by the end of September.
“This is a pressing issue,” adds Diane Yentel, president and CEO of the National Poor Housing Coalition. "Millions of tenants can't sleep at night because they don't know what they will do if they become homeless."
On the subject: Expulsion moratoriums expire: what should tenants prepare for
Christy McDonald became disabled after surgery in 2019. By the time she was healthy enough to return to work, the coronavirus had broken out and finding work was nearly impossible.
An additional $ 600 a week unemployment benefit payment from the federal government allowed her to pay the rent for her apartment in Biddeford, Maine. Now this money is gone, and she does not know what to do.
“This is not a pressing problem. I have enough money and I know I can pay the rent next month. But after that the situation becomes very precarious, ”says MacDonald.
Even when moratoriums on evictions are still in place, it can be difficult for tenants to know if they are protected and what their rights are.
Florida extended temporary eviction ban. However, it only applies to tenants who can prove they have been affected by COVID-19 and have applied for extra time to pay what they owe, says Jamos Mobley.
“Many people have heard that the moratorium has been extended and they think they are protected. But this is not the case. Evictions continue, ”says Mobley, who works for the Legal Aid Society in Central Florida.
“I think our next pandemic, if nothing is done, will be a pandemic of the homeless,” he says.
The upcoming surge in evictions is not only an economic problem, but also a health problem, Yentel says.
“When health depends on the ability to stay at home, we are all committed to ensuring that millions of people do not lose their homes,” she says.
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