COVID-19

Trump administration moves to halt evictions through end of year

David Brancaccio, Nancy Marshall-Genzer, Candace Manriquez Wrenn, and Alex Schroeder Sep 2, 2020
Heard on: Marketplace Morning Report
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Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images
COVID-19

Trump administration moves to halt evictions through end of year

David Brancaccio, Nancy Marshall-Genzer, Candace Manriquez Wrenn, and Alex Schroeder Sep 2, 2020
Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

The Trump administration Tuesday evening put out a directive to stop property owners form evicting some tenants amid the COVID-19 pandemic. It’ll take effect this Friday, and it runs through the end of the year.

Marketplace’s Nancy Marshall-Genzer is following this, and she spoke with “Marketplace Morning Report” host David Brancaccio. The following is an edited transcript of their conversation.

Nancy Marshall-Genzer: Tenants have to sign a declaration that they’ve tried to get government help to pay the rent, that they won’t earn more than $99,000 this year, for an individual, or $198,000 for couples and that they can’t pay the rent because they’ve lost their job or had extraordinary medical expenses. The order is from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC says if waves of people were evicted, they’d have to move in with other people or into shelters. The CDC says this could lead to overcrowding and possible outbreaks of the coronavirus.

David Brancaccio: What happens after the eviction moratorium lifts on Dec. 31?

Marshall-Genzer: At that point, landlords can require tenants to pay all the rent that’s due. Mary Cunningham, vice president for metropolitan housing and communities policy at the Urban Institute, told me this pause in evictions really just kicks the can down the road.

Mary Cunningham: So at the end of the year renters will still owe their back rent, they may owe fees to their landlords, so they’ll really be in rough shape if Congress doesn’t act and fund rental assistance.

Brancaccio: But property owners, landlords, still have their mortgages and other bills. Is there any aid for them?

Marshall-Genzer: There’s not specific aid for landlords in this executive order. The Trump administration says federal block grants can be used to help landlords so they don’t default on their mortgages, but it’s not clear how that would work. The administration also says there are funds in the CARES Act signed into law in the spring can be used to help landlords and property owners. But Cunningham says that’s not nearly enough.

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

Are states ready to roll out COVID-19 vaccines?

Claire Hannan, executive director of the nonprofit Association of Immunization Managers, which represents state health officials, said states have been making good progress in their preparations. And we could have several vaccines pretty soon. But states still need more funding, she said. Hannan doesn’t think a lack of additional funding would hold up distribution initially, but it could cause problems down the road. “It’s really worrisome that Congress may not pass funding or that there’s information circulating saying that states don’t need additional funding,” she said.

How is the service industry dealing with the return of coronavirus restrictions?

Without another round of something like the Paycheck Protection Program, which kept a lot of businesses afloat during the pandemic’s early stages, the outlook is bleak for places like restaurants. Some in the San Francisco Bay Area, for example, only got one week of indoor dining back before cases rose and restrictions went back into effect. Restaurant owners are revamping their business models in an effort to survive while waiting to see if they’ll be able to get more aid.

How are hospitals handling the nationwide surge in COVID-19 cases?

As the pandemic surges and more medical professionals themselves are coming down with COVID, nearly 1 in 5 hospitals in the country report having a critical shortage of staff, according to data from the Department of Health and Human Services. One of the knock-on effects of staff shortages is that people who have other medical needs are being asked to wait.

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