The financial settlement extends the nationwide eviction ban till January
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A non-partisan coronavirus relief agreement that lawmakers signed on Sunday will extend the national eviction moratorium through January and set up a $ 25 billion rental aid fund.
Relief comes when the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s moratorium on evictions is due to expire at the end of the month. More than 14 million Americans – or one in five adult renters – recently said they are not keeping up with their rent, according to The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
“This help is urgently needed,” said Douglas Rice, senior policy analyst at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. “The CDC order prevented a wave of displacement this fall, and the extension will avert a large wave in January.”
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Heidi Breaux had no idea where she and her two daughters Kayleigh, 13, and Kora, 10, would go if the national eviction ban expired on December 31st.
She fell back on her $ 750 rent after the pandemic cost her both jobs. The family lives in a town house in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She recently got a job as an administrator in a church, but only makes $ 10 an hour. She owes her landlord about $ 4,000.
“We’d be homeless on the street,” said Breaux, 35. “I don’t even want to imagine.”
Heidi Breaux and her two daughters Kora (10) and Kayleigh (13)
Courtesy of Heidi Breaux
The $ 25 billion rental support is expected to be paid by state and local authorities and can be used by tenants for arrears as well as rents and utilities. To qualify, renters likely need to be on low incomes.
That aid could keep anywhere from 2 to 8 million families in their homes for the next few months, Rice said. “This is a big step in the right direction, but probably not enough,” he added.
Emily Benfer, eviction expert and visiting law professor at Wake Forest University, said $ 100 billion was needed to cover the return rent owed.
“Make no mistake, the auxiliary bill is an emergency solution,” said Benfer. “Without additional support, the clearance crisis will lead to disaster and endanger the health and safety of millions of adults and children.”
In fact, researchers have found that evictions make the spread of Covid worse.
Before the CDC passed a national eviction ban, 43 states issued their own suspensions for the trial. However, many of the statewide bans were in place for 10 weeks or less. North Dakota and Iowa only dropped the case for about a month. (Seven states, including Ohio, Georgia, and Wyoming, have now never stopped evictions.)
A recent study found that between March and September 433,700 cases of the virus in excess and 10,700 additional deaths were caused by states lifting eviction moratoriums.
“When you look at an infectious disease like Covid-19, evictions can have implications not only for the health of displaced families, but the health of the wider community,” said Kathryn Leifheit, one of the study’s authors and a postdoctoral fellow at UCLA Fielding School of Public Health.