As millions of struggling renters are no longer protected from eviction, National Low Income Housing Coalition President Diane Yentel condemned the Supreme Court’s ruling to lift the federal eviction moratorium.
Yentel warned that millions of people could lose their homes this fall and winter, just as the Delta Variant inflicts the most harm on Americans.
“The federal eviction moratorium was a lifeline for millions of families, the last remaining federal protection keeping them safely and stably housed throughout the pandemic,” said Yentel. “The tragic, consequential, and entirely avoidable outcome of this ruling will be millions of people losing their homes this fall and winter, just as the delta variant ravages communities and lives.”
“The Supreme Court decision undermines historic efforts by Congress and the White House to ensure housing stability during the pandemic,” said Yentel. “State and local governments are working to improve programs to distribute emergency rental assistance to those in need, but they need more time; the Supreme Court’s decision will lead to many renters, predominantly people of color, losing their homes before the assistance can reach them.”
“Evictions risk lives and drive families deeper into poverty. During a pandemic, evictions further burden overstretched hospital systems, and make it much more difficult for the country to contain the virus,” said Yentel. “Evictions have been shown to increase spread of, and potentially deaths from, COVID-19.”
“For families and individuals, evictions are profoundly traumatizing and destabilizing ,” said Yentel. “For the country, evictions are expensive. The tragic consequences of this decision will reverberate for years.”
Yentel said now that struggling tenants are no longer protected by the national ban on evictions, it is important for those households to get approved for federal rental assistance, a program that is being poorly administered.
Congress has allocated more than $45 billion in rental assistance to address the crisis hitting tenants and their landlords, but the money has been painfully slow to reach families. Seven months after those funds were approved, 16 states have apparently spent less than 5% of their share.
“Six and a half million households are behind on rent and at heightened risk of eviction,” said Yentel. “That number has barely budged since March, which tells us all we need to know about the unacceptably slow pace of spending by many states and cities.”
Out of the $25 billion allocated under the first rent assistance program, only $6.54 billion has been approved or paid to households, a dismal 26.2 percent distribution of emergency aid