6 million renters face eviction in 8 days when a Trump-era ban expires. Biden is poised to let it happen.

Joe Biden
President Joe Biden speaks on the economy at Cuyahoga Community College Manufacturing Technology Center, on May 27, 2021, in Cleveland, Ohio.

  • Both a federal eviction ban and a moratorium on foreclosures expire in eight days.
  • Some advocates are pushing for an extension of the eviction ban as new virus cases pile up.
  • The Biden administration is poised to allow both relief programs to expire on July 31.
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On July 31, a set of pandemic-relief measures for renters and homeowners enacted under President Trump will end – and the Biden administration doesn’t appear interested in renewing them.

A federal eviction ban is ending on July 31 after an extension last month. It’s the same for a moratorium on foreclosures. But the Biden administration rolled out a new measure allowing homeowners to refinance their mortgages and cut monthly payments in an effort to aid 1.8 million Americans still in forbearance.

Still, some groups are pushing for the White House to take more aggressive steps to prevent people from losing their homes.

On evictions, advocates say the emergency measure’s end threatens 6 million renters who are at risk of losing their homes at a moment new infections are rising and a federal program to help them has been very slow to provide rent relief.

“The CDC eviction moratorium is a necessary public health measure to lessen spread of/deaths from COVID-19,” Diane Yentel, president of the National Low-Income Housing Coalition, recently wrote on Twitter. “The need clearly remains as Delta surges & 6m renter households remain behind on rent & at risk of eviction when moratorium expires.”

Paul Williams, a fellow at the Jain Family Institute, projected that 80% of all households struggling with rental debt are in counties experiencing a surge of virus cases due to the Delta variant.

“Letting county courts kick people onto the street next week is probably the worst Delta variant strategy I can think of,” he wrote on Twitter.

Around 11.4 million renters – or 16% overall – have fallen behind on rent payments, according to an analysis of Census data from the left-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Around 3 million people said they could be evicted within a mere two months. Some courts ruled the ban unconstitutional earlier this year, Insider’s Ayelet Sheffey reported.

Separately, the Biden administration is allowing homeowners to extend the length of their mortgage. The White House said Friday that homeowners with mortgages backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac can still delay their payments until September 30.

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Biden administration extends nationwide ban on evictions for one ‘final’ month through the end of July

rent mortgage protest pandemic
  • The Biden administration extended a nationwide ban on evictions until July 31.
  • The move comes after Democrats called on Biden to extend the ban.
  • The White House said it will work with state and local governments to prevent evictions.
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The Biden administration on Thursday extended a nationwide ban on evictions through the end of July, as renters recover from the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The ban, put in place by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, was set to expire on June 30. CDC Director Rochelle Walensky on Thursday signed the extension until July 31.

The moratorium is meant to help combat the spread of the coronavirus by keeping people unable to pay rent in their homes rather than in a more crowded setting, such as a homeless shelter, according to the CDC.

This is the third time the CDC order has been extended since it first went into effect in September.

The White House said this will be the “final” extension, but announced a series of actions it would take to help state and local governments prevent evictions, including accelerating the distribution of billions of dollars in emergency rental assistance and encouraging anti-eviction diversion practices to state courts.

The move comes after Biden faced pressure from congressional Democrats and housing advocates to extend the moratorium. A group of 41 Democratic lawmakers on Tuesday argued in a letter to Biden that evictions would “take lives and push households deeper into poverty” and that the issue is an “urgent matter of health, racial, and economic justice.”

Around 7 million people in the country are currently behind on their rent payments, according to a Census Bureau survey released in June.

Several Democrats hailed the Biden administration’s action on Thursday and thanked the White House for moving swiftly on the matter.

Yet not everyone was pleased with the outcome. Rep. Jamaal Bowman of New York tweeted: “These are short term solutions for a long term problem. Evictions were harmful before the pandemic and will be harmful after.”

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Progressive Democrats call on Biden and the CDC to extend eviction moratorium which expires next week

ayanna pressley cori bush ilhan omar
Usher speaks with Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., second from left, and Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., second from right, as they arrive for an event to mark the passage of the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act, in the East Room of the White House, Thursday, June 17, 2021, in Washington.

  • A group of House Democrats called on Biden and the CDC to extend a federal eviction moratorium.
  • “It is an urgent matter of health, racial, and economic justice,” they wrote in a letter.
  • Around 7 million people are still behind on their rent, according to the Census Bureau.
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Several progressive Democrats on Tuesday called on President Joe Biden and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to extend a federal eviction moratorium that is set to expire on June 30.

In a letter signed by 41 members of Congress and led by Reps. Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, Cori Bush of Missouri, and Jimmy Gomez of California, the lawmakers urged the White House and CDC to “take action to prevent a historic wave of evictions and keep renters safely in their homes.” The letter was first reported by ABC News.

The group of House Democrats cited Census Bureau data that showed minority households, including Black, Latino, Asian and Indigenous, are more likely to be behind on their rent payments, arguing in support of the extension “to protect vulnerable renters” and “curtail the eviction crisis disproportionately impacting our communities of color.”

Around 7 million people are still behind on their rent, according to the Census Bureau.

The lawmakers also pointed to data from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that found that communities with lower COVID-19 vaccination rates and higher cases happen to be more at risk of facing eviction.

“Allowing the moratorium to expire before vaccination rates increase in marginalized communities could lead to increased spread of, and deaths from, COVID-19,” they said in the letter.

“Evictions take lives and push households deeper into poverty, impacting everything from health outcomes to educational attainment,” they added. “The impact of the federal moratorium cannot be overstated, and the need to strengthen and extend it is an urgent matter of health, racial, and economic justice.”

Tenants struggling to pay their rent during the COVID-19 economic crisis were handed a lifeline in March 2020, when Congress first passed a federal eviction moratorium. The CDC then issued its own moratorium in September, which has since been extended twice. The current moratorium is set to expire at the end of the month.

Biden has previously expressed support to halt evictions until September 30. In his $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan passed in March, the president allotted nearly $22 billion toward emergency rental assistance.

The White House did not immediately return Insider’s request for comment.

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The DOJ says it will appeal after a Trump-appointed judge struck down a federal eviction moratorium

Housing Advocates Boston Eviction Moratorium Sign
Housing activists gathering in Massachusetts in October.

  • DOJ attorneys on Saturday said they’d appeal a judgment striking down the US eviction moratorium. 
  • The moratorium “helps to slow the spread of COVID-19,” said Brian M. Boynton, DOJ attorney.
  • A Trump-appointed judge on Thursday said the federal moratorium was unlawful. 
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The Justice Department on Saturday said it would appeal a judge’s ruling that struck down the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s federal eviction moratorium.

On Thursday, US District Judge John Barker of the Eastern District of Texas said the creation of such a moratorium “criminalizes the use of state legal proceedings to vindicate property rights.” 

In a 21-page summary judgment, Barker, a Trump appointee, said the moratorium was unconstitutional. Giving the federal government such “broad authority” over state legal proceedings resembled a “prohibited federal police power,” Barker wrote.

“Although the COVID-19 pandemic persists, so does the Constitution,” he added. 

DOJ prosecutors filed a notice on Saturday, saying they would appeal Barker’s judgement to the US Court of Appeals for the fifth circuit.

Brian M. Boynton, DOJ acting assistant attorney general, said: “The Department of Justice respectfully disagrees with the February 25 decision of the district court in Terkel v. CDC that the CDC’s eviction moratorium exceeds Congress’ powers under the Commerce Clause and the Necessary and Proper Clause, and the Department has appealed that decision.”

Eviction Moratorium Activists Massachusetts Signs DOJ
Housing activists erect a sign in front of Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker’s house in Swampscott, Mass.

Boynton said: “The decision, however, does not extend beyond the particular plaintiffs in that case, and it does not prohibit the application of the CDC’s eviction moratorium to other parties.  For other landlords who rent to covered persons, the CDC’s eviction moratorium remains in effect.”

President Donald Trump signed the CDC eviction moratorium in September.

“I want to make it unmistakably clear that I’m protecting people from evictions,” he said in a statement at the time.

Congress extended the moratorium in December, keeping it in place until President Joe Biden’s term began. At the time, almost 6 million Americans were threatened by eviction or foreclosure. About 18 million people in the US were behind on their rent or mortgage payments, according to the US Census Bureau. CNN reported that evictions were disproportionately affecting people of color. 

On his first day in office in January, Biden signed an executive order extending the moratorium to the end of March.

In his Saturday statement, Boynton said, “By preventing people from becoming homeless or having to move into more-crowded housing, the moratorium helps to slow the spread of COVID-19.”

 

 

 

 

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Housing advocates warn that as the federal eviction moratorium ends, people of color are most at risk of being left without a home

eviction foreclosure moratoriums 2021
Americans are protesting a wave of evictions and foreclosures as protections aiding people who can’t afford rent or mortgage payments run out in December and January.

  • A federal evictions moratorium is set to expire on December 31, potentially leaving millions at risk of homelessness. 
  • People of color are most at risk, CNN reported. 
  • In some states, people are already being evicted despite the moratorium, the majority of them being Black or Hispanic. 
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People of color are most at risk of becoming homeless once a federal eviction moratorium expires at the end of this year, CNN reported. 

The federal moratorium was put in place beginning on September 4 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and will expire on December 31, and it was estimated that somewhere between 30-40 million Americans could lose their homes without it. 

The National Low Income Housing Coalition reported that 80% of those vulnerable to the eviction crisis are from communities of color and said millions of low-income renters are at risk of losing their homes once both federal, and local moratoriums expire. 

CNN also reported that the Atlanta United Way says 95% of families it helps fight evictions are Black.

In Connecticut, the Connecticut Mirror reported that Governor Ned Lamont left the federal eviction moratorium for courts to determine if they apply, and residents have already begun to face eviction, the vast majority of whom are people of color. 

People of color have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic in several ways. Many have been front line workers, who were at higher rates of exposure, as well as a demographic that is at a higher risk of severe illness due to underlying conditions. 

Jamaira Watson and her mother were evicted from her home while trying to recover from COVID-19, they told the Mirror. At the beginning of the pandemic, Watson lost a low-wage job at a hotel and got behind on her rent while waiting for unemployment benefits. She became sick with the coronavirus right after she started a new factory job. 

“I had a nervous breakdown. I am struggling,” Watson told the Mirror. 

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