COVID-19

Millions of renters could face eviction as moratorium ends

Amanda Peacher Jul 28, 2021
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A constable in Arizona knocks before posting an eviction order. Federal assistance is available for tenants who are behind on their rent, but many are unaware of the aid. John Moore via Getty Images
COVID-19

Millions of renters could face eviction as moratorium ends

Amanda Peacher Jul 28, 2021
Heard on:
A constable in Arizona knocks before posting an eviction order. Federal assistance is available for tenants who are behind on their rent, but many are unaware of the aid. John Moore via Getty Images
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The federal eviction moratorium put in place at the height of the pandemic is about to end.

According to a new report from the Aspen Institute, more than 15 million people live in households that are behind on their rent.

At least half of those renters are expecting eviction notices to come next month, and the report’s numbers show that people of color are disproportionately at risk of eviction.

Federal assistance is available for tenants who are behind on rent. Congress allocated $46 billion for that purpose. But is it getting to people who need it?

The government has been trying to get the word out about the aid, to both renters and landlords. But there are reasons the news isn’t reaching people or it’s taking a long time, according to Zach Neumann, with the COVID-19 Eviction Defense Project.

“If you don’t have access to technology, if maybe English is not your first language, it’s even harder to access the money,” Neumann said.

Tiffany McCall, in Georgia, is one of the people who hadn’t heard the news about rent assistance.

“No I haven’t. … Any help I can get as soon as possible would be great,” McCall said.

But she is online, and she’s been looking for more work. McCall is a certified nurse assistant who hasn’t been able to work enough hours to make her rent. She said she received an eviction notice last week.

“My plan was to either go to the shelter and if that wasn’t available, just live out of my car until I find something else,” she said.

McCall said she’s stressed and worried about providing for her 8-year-old daughter.

Along with more than half of all renters who don’t know about federal aid, only 40% of landlords do, according to Abby Boshart, with the Urban Institute. She said getting evicted does damage that goes far beyond losing your home.

“It impacts everything from your education to your employment to your mental and physical health,” she said.

And data shows that the people who are most at risk of eviction are also among the least likely to be vaccinated against COVID-19, she said.

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