Millions in the US face evictions amid looming crisis

September 1, 2020

Housing advocates have warned of a looming eviction crisis after federal programs to help the 30 million unemployed Americans and to prevent evictions during the pandemic expired in late July. A coalition of nine institutions found 30-40 million people in the US were at risk of eviction in the next several months. In late July, 13.3 million renters told the US Census Bureau they could not pay rent the month before.

On 8 August, Donald Trump signed an executive order which he said would minimize evictions and foreclosures. The actual order is not, as was hoped, an extension of the moratorium which expired in late July and has fallen short of what is needed to protect vulnerable renters.

It is impossible to calculate exactly how many evictions have taken place during the pandemic because the government doesn’t track that data. The closest thing to a national database, Princeton University’s Eviction Lab, has not yet found a sustained rise in evictions, though some states have seen spikes after local eviction moratoriums ended.

Cea Weaver, campaign coordinator at a coalition for tenants and advocates in New York, Housing Justice For All, said with eviction protections fizzling out, the system which favors landlords over renters was laid bare.

“I think what we are experiencing is a baseline of how weak tenants’ protections are in this country compared to other places in the world,” Weaver said.

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