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Expulsion moratoriums expire: what should tenants prepare for

During the COVID-19 pandemic, a moratorium on the eviction of tenants from housing was introduced. This saved many people who were at home for a long time and they did not have the opportunity to pay rent. Writes about it CNN.

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May 31 was supposed to be Kiana Ashley's eviction day. But thanks to the three-month eviction moratorium that New York put in place in March, she was allowed to stay in her house. Since then, New York extended the moratorium for another two months, but Ashley does not meet the new more stringent criteria. So she could face immediate eviction.

“I would not wish an eviction of my worst enemy,” Ashley said. "Not knowing where you will be tomorrow the next day is not good."

Since quarantine, tenants in 42 states and Washington have received protection from evictions as part of moratoria. But since then, more than a third of these moratoriums have been canceled, and the rest expire, as a result of which tenants have to pay months of late payments or lose their roof over their heads. This is happening at a time when more than 45 million Americans have applied for unemployment benefits for the first time in their lives.

Ashley was dismissed as an assistant teacher in March. Since then, she has been taking care of her 5-year-old son Nazira, looking for work and a new place to live. She says an extra $ 600 a week in unemployment benefits under the federal Coronavirus Aid, Aid and Economic Security Act helped a lot. But these benefits expire on July 31.

On the subject: 10 US cities where pandemic is rapidly dropping

“We don't have many options for finding a new place to live during a pandemic,” Ashley said. She also has a voucher for low-income housing, which she says makes it difficult to find a new home due to a lack of such housing. Over the past two decades, New York City has lost 1,1 million units of affordable housing (with rents of $ 900 a month or less). Ashley's rent for her Queens apartment is $ 850 a month.

Avalanche of Eviction

By the end of September, up to 23 million Americans will be at risk of eviction, according to a report from the Covid-19 Eviction Protection Project and Aspen Institute's Financial Security Program.

The Legal Aid Society estimates that New York alone will have 50 evictions when the state’s general eviction moratorium expires. An extended moratorium will only apply to tenants who have suffered financial difficulties due to Covid-000.

“I think the United States can expect an avalanche of evictions that will affect the entire community and lead to a cascade of additional losses ranging from financial well-being to health care and housing opportunities across the country,” said Emily Benfer, director of the School of Justice at Columbia University.

Non-white race members are expected to be evicted at a much faster rate. Hispanics and blacks make up 18% and 12% of the US population, respectively, but make up 28% and 18% of people living in rental housing who have lost their jobs or income due to Covid-19, according to a study by the University of California at Berkeley.

“Blacks are twice as likely to be evicted than whites,” Benfer said.

And that could lead to record homelessness. The New York Homeless Coalition says its mobile soup kitchens show a 100 percent increase in consumers and their homes are crammed with new homeless people seeking help.

"We've never seen anything like it," said Dave Giffen, executive director of the Coalition for the Homeless. “We know this is not the end. It's not even the middle. This is just the beginning of the crisis. "

How states and the federal government can help

At the national level, the CARES Act provides some protection against eviction and late payments for tenants who live in dwellings subsidized by the federal government or on a federal basis until July 24. In addition, earlier this week, several agencies extended the moratorium on eviction until the end of August.

According to the Urban Institute, this affected about 28% of the country's rental space. The rest should rely on rapidly expiring moratoriums on eviction and other relief efforts.

On the subject: Tenants in the USA, despite a moratorium from the authorities, are evicted for non-payment

Some governors were able to send federal dollars from the Assistance Act in the amount of $ 2 trillion to housing rental assistance funds. In Iowa, Governor Kim Reynolds set up a fund to help pay rent, as eviction restrictions were lifted in late May. In New York, Andrew Cuomo signed a bill to create a fund to help rent housing for New Yorkers in the amount of $ 100 million.

But housing advocates say the New York Fund will leave many tenants behind. Benfer estimates that six times more rental assistance.

There are other suggested measures that may help. The $ 3 trillion HEROES law passed by the House of Representatives will provide $ 100 billion in leases. According to housing advocates, a measure like this can help prevent people like Ashley from preventing evictions.

Ashley cannot qualify for the New York Housing Assistance Fund because her eviction notice was sent before the state’s first general moratorium. This leaves her with even fewer options. She was homeless about 18 months ago with her then 3-year-old son and does not want this to happen again.

“No child deserves this experience. This is my very big fear, ”said Ashley.

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