Millions face eviction as housing protection expires on June 30

  • Over 11 million people are behind on their rent and most likely to face eviction when the national housing protection expires.
  • Housing advocates say that states are struggling to distribute the $45 billion rental assistance among people as the ban is being lifted at a terrible time for both property owners and tenants.
  • Most at risk are people of color, low incomes and older Americans.

As half of 2021 ends, millions of Americans face a new challenge—the risk of eviction. The current CDC eviction moratorium is said to expire by the end of June. The pandemic has worsened racial inequities. Households with lower income have reported problems in paying their rent. Black renters across the country are four times as likely to be behind on their rent and heading towards eviction.

The problem

The pre-existing housing affordability and insecurity crisis has only doubled since the outbreak of Covid-19. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) stated that millions of households across America are behind on rent. Out of which those at risk of being homeless are people of color, primarily Black and Latino households.

The federal eviction moratorium is critical in helping families keep their homes. And an extension will prevent a wave of evictions, that will further stop the spread of Covid-19 and mitigate the need for other public funds from the Government. 

Over 11 million Americans can be pushed out of their homes since they are behind on their rent. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities analyzed that 15% of adults have not cleared their rental dues. Out of which a majority seems to be Black renters across the country. Black renters are four times as likely to be behind on rent as opposed to other racial ethnicities.

Older Americans are yet another vulnerable group. Around 100,000 people over the age of 65 are expected to be evicted within the next two months.

Apart from being a blessing to tenants, the CDC’s eviction moratorium faced numerous legal challenges and criticisms from landlords. Landlords have stated that they can’t afford to house people for free or handle the country’s massive rental arrears—which by the way estimates to $70 billion.

States that will see more evictions

Eviction rates are likely to be higher in some states than others. States that witnessed mass layoffs during the pandemic are facing housing affordability problems. Nearly 1 in 4 renters are behind on their housing payments in Florida and South Carolina as opposed to 6% in Maine and Kentucky.

What the government is doing about it

The CFPB and the Federal Trade Commission will monitor and investigate eviction practices, especially of major multistate landlords. 

The extension of the federal eviction moratorium will also give counties time to distribute the funding they received through the federal Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) Program.

  • The program was first established in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021.
  • It authorized $25 billion to fund states and eligible units of local government, including counties with over 200,000 residents.
  • This program was established to assist families struggling to make rental and utility payments. 

The American Rescue Plan Act provided an additional $21.6 billion for the ERA program. The US Treasury Department is yet to announce allocations.