Billions of renters could be forced from their homes this month following the expiration of the federal eviction moratorium over the weekend, according to Vox. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention enacted the ban last fall to protect tenants during the pandemic.
Earlier this summer, the Supreme Court announced that an extension beyond July would require congressional action. President Biden submitted a formal request on Thursday, but that left the House with little time to draft new legislation. Unable to move quickly enough, Congress adjourned for its August recess with no solution in sight. Now, some may be evicted as early as today, according to NPR.
U.S. Representative Cori Bush (D-MO) has been one of the most vocal proponents of a moratorium extension. She experienced eviction firsthand before running for office. Bush protested Friday night by sleeping on the steps of the Capitol.
“I am dirty, sticky, sweaty,” Bush said, according to CNN. “I still have on what I had on last night. This is how people will have to live if we don’t do something … they deserve human dignity and deserve for people that represent them to show up, do the work, to make sure basic needs are met today.”
The Call to “Cancel Rent”
The pandemic has only exacerbated America’s “long-standing crisis of housing insecurity,” according to Jacobin, whose recent coverage of New York’s “Cancel Rent” movement cites figures from The National Low Income Housing Coalition, which demonstrate that even before March 2020, 75 percent of low-income families were already “severely cost-burdened” and paid “more than half their income on rent.”
Circumstances only deteriorated as the pandemic dragged on; by the fall, over 40 percent of U.S. renters were in jeopardy of eviction. Amid these conditions, the call to cancel rent reverberated throughout the country.
However, of the $47 billion in federal housing aid included in the Emergency Rental Assistance program that Congress passed last December, only $3 billion, or seven percent, has yet to actually be disbursed, according to The New York Times.