The evictions moratorium was extended from June 30 to July 31, but the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cautioned that it would be the final extension.
The news of the extension came amid a flurry of activity from US President Joe Biden’s administration, which included the release of new advice pushing states and local governments to expedite the distribution of the almost $47 billion in available emergency rental assistance funds.
President Joe Biden’s administration extended the statewide ban on evictions for another month on Thursday to assist millions of tenants who have been unable to make rent payments due to the coronavirus outbreak but said it will be the final time it does so.
The evictions moratorium has been extended until July 31 by Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “This is intended to be the final extension of the moratorium,” the CDC stated.
According to a Biden administration official, the last month will be used for a multi-agency “all hands on deck” push to prevent a wave of evictions. One of the reasons for the moratorium was to limit the spread of COVID-19 among those who had been thrown out on the streets or into shelters.
According to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, 6.4 million American households were behind on their rent as of the end of March. According to the US Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey, nearly 3.2 million people in the United States stated they were facing eviction in the next two months as of June 7.
Tenants who were on the point of being evicted and whose only hope was the CDC moratorium were relieved by the news.
Cristina Livingston, a 55-year-old mother of two from Bay Harbor Islands, Florida, was one of them. During the epidemic, she lost her work as an administrative assistant. Her landlord refused to accept government rental aid, thus she was unable to pay over $14,000 in late rent.
“Wow, that’s fantastic. I’m simply requesting a little more time. I just need some time to get out of here in a decent manner,” Livingston said, adding that her greatest concern was being evicted without notice before she could find a new job.
She described the encounter as “devastating.” “I’ve never been in a scenario like this before. It’s killing me because I’m frightened someone will come and fetch me out of here at any moment. I don’t know where I’m going.”
Ronald Leonard, a 68-year-old Daytona Beach resident, and retired heavy equipment operator was facing eviction from his one-bedroom apartment. In addition, his landlord refuses to accept federal assistance to cover $5,000 in back rent.
“I don’t have to be concerned about July any longer. Leonard, who still fears being forced to live on the streets once the moratorium expires, said, “I feel a lot better.” “It’s a horrible situation. It’s not going to be pleasant. I’m no longer in good health. I’m not going to live on the street in any way.”
The notification of the extension came amid a frenzy of administrative action on Thursday. The US Department of the Treasury has issued new recommendations encouraging states and local governments to distribute almost $47 billion in available emergency rental assistance cash more efficiently. Vanita Gupta, the Associate Attorney General, wrote an open letter to state courts around the country, urging them to pursue several solutions that would protect both tenants and landlords.
Unless extra actions are taken, “eviction filings are projected to overwhelm courts around the country,” according to Gupta’s letter.
The White House admitted on Wednesday that the previously extended emergency pandemic protection would have to terminate at some time. The issue is to come up with the correct kind of off-ramp to ease the transition without causing substantial societal disruption.
In his letter to state courts, Gupta urged them to do whatever they can to avoid or postpone evictions.
She claims that losing one’s home might have “catastrophic economic and psychological consequences.” “The whole legal community, including the Department of Justice, the bar, and the judiciary, has a commitment to do everything possible to guarantee that everyone has meaningful and equal access to justice before confronting these consequences.”
This includes giving tenants as much notice as possible and ensuring that both tenants and landlords are aware of any available emergency relief funding.
Gupta’s letter cites actions taken by state courts in Texas, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, as well as directing state courts to an online evaluation tool created by the National Center for State Courts to assist jurisdictions in determining the best model.
Hundreds of members of Congress wrote to Biden and Walensky this week, urging them to not only extend but further enhance the ban.
The letter, which was organized by Democratic Representatives Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, Jimmy Gomez of California, and Cori Bush of Missouri, sought for an undetermined extension to allow the American Rescue Plan’s emergency rental aid to reach tenants.
They claimed that immediately ending the assistance will unfairly harm some of the minority populations hardest afflicted by the coronavirus, which has killed more than 600,000 people in the United States. They also echoed many housing groups in urging for the moratorium’s safeguards to be made automatic, so that tenants don’t have to take any additional actions to get them.
The letter added, “The federal moratorium’s impact cannot be overstated, and the need to enhance and extend it is an urgent matter of health, racial, and economic justice.”
A renewal of the eviction moratorium, according to Diane Yentel, president of the National Low Income Housing Coalition, is “the proper thing to do – morally, fiscally, politically, and as an ongoing public health policy.”
Landlords, on the other hand, who had opposed the moratorium and had challenged it in court, were opposed to any extension. They say that the focus should be on increasing the speed with which rental assistance is distributed.
Others applauded the moratorium extension but said the Biden administration should consider longer-term remedies, like extending the federal government’s low-income housing voucher program. Even before the pandemic, 24 million people — many of them persons of color — would have benefited from the program but were unable to access it.
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