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Wave of evictions could hit U.S. as protections and benefits expire

Jasmine Garsd Jul 17, 2020
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Residents protest rent and evictions during the pandemic in Washington, D.C,, in May. Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images
COVID-19

Wave of evictions could hit U.S. as protections and benefits expire

Jasmine Garsd Jul 17, 2020
Heard on:
Residents protest rent and evictions during the pandemic in Washington, D.C,, in May. Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images
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July is being called a pivotal month for the looming American housing crisis. 

Eviction moratoriums are coming to an end. And so is a lot of assistance for renters and homeowners. Experts say we could be looking at a wave of evictions and an increase in homelessness. It’s a crisis that’s been brewing since the COVID-19 pandemic started.

Record unemployment has led to nearly 20% of people missing their rent payments in June.

Some state moratoriums on evictions, mandated in response to the pandemic, have already expired.

“What we’re expecting in July is a really steep cliff,” said Mary Cunningham with the Urban Institute. “That’s when two things happen that really have been preventing millions of Americans from losing their homes.”

The extra $600 a week in federal unemployment benefits expires at the end of this month. And while the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act prohibited evictions against people who lived in federally subsidized housing, that, too, expires next week 

Experts are expecting a “tsunami of evictions.”

Lisa Rice, president of the National Fair Housing Alliance, said the fallout will go beyond renters.

“If people can’t pay their rent, then landlords can’t pay their mortgages and will have to lay off staff,” Rice said. “Then that just exacerbates the unemployment rate.”

And it will affect some more than others.

“People of color are most at risk of eviction. They are disproportionately rent burdened,” said Diane Yentel of the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

Some states and cities have either extended their eviction protection measures or passed renters’ assistance programs. But, experts say, unless sweeping action is taken, a countrywide storm is coming our way.

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

Can businesses deny you entry if you don’t have a vaccine passport?

As more Americans get vaccinated against COVID-19 and the economy begins reopening, some businesses are requiring proof of vaccination to enter their premises. The concept of a vaccine passport has raised ethical questions about data privacy and potential discrimination against the unvaccinated. However, legal experts say businesses have the right to deny entrance to those who can’t show proof.

Give me a snapshot of the labor market in the U.S.

U.S. job openings in February increased more than expected, according to the Labor Department. Also, the economy added over 900,000 jobs in March. For all of the good jobs news recently, there are still nearly 10 million people who are out of work, and more than 4 million of them have been unemployed for six months or longer. “So we still have a very long way to go until we get a full recovery,” said Elise Gould with the Economic Policy Institute. She said the industries that have the furthest to go are the ones you’d expect: “leisure and hospitality, accommodations, food services, restaurants” and the public sector, especially in education.

What do I need to know about tax season this year?

Glad you asked! We have a whole separate FAQ section on that. Some quick hits: The deadline has been extended from April 15 to May 17 for individuals. Also, millions of people received unemployment benefits in 2020 — up to $10,200 of which will now be tax-free for those with an adjusted gross income of less than $150,000. And, for those who filed before the American Rescue Plan passed, simply put, you do not need to file an amended return at the moment. Find answers to the rest of your questions here.

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