Millions may lose homes as Covid surges in US
A national ban on evictions has been expired last week, leaving billions in government funds untapped, which intended to help citizens. This termination will possibly lead to millions of Americans becoming homeless.
Joe Biden, the President of the United States asked Congress to prolong the 11-month-old eviction end, following a recent Supreme Court ruling which stated that the White House can not extend the ban till September.
Furthermore, democratic leaders in Congress were opting for extension, but there was a doubt about the votes and the moderates present in the party who don’t want this ban to expire.
The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has also expressed growing concern over the increase in Covid’19 cases, if homelessness rises.
Nancy Pelosi, a House speaker stated that not a single Republican would support this measure, and called the extension a moral imperative. She also requested governors and local officials to take whatever measures are essential to divide the rental support that Congress has previously allocated.
The Treasury Department revealed that till June, only $3 billion of the aid was given to households out of the total $25bn granted to states and localities at the beginning of February.
The CDC requested the eviction delay in September 2020, because the country faced a severe loss in the economy with the drop of 20 million jobs during the pandemic lockdowns.
Currently, the majority of loss from jobs has been recovered as businesses have opened again, but many citizens are still unable to pay missed rent.
The Census Bureau’s Household Pulse survey within the first week of July revealed out of the 51m renters, 7.4m were missing payments of rent, and half of these people were at risk of eviction.
Where exactly is the aid for the people?
According to Treasury data, by the end of June, 450,000 households only received aid from the Emergency Rental Assistance Program, while some states and localities have yet to give out the funds to the people.
The Treasury started a campaign this week to educate the public on the campaign representing Virginia and Houston, as they have achieved helping people struggling with rent.
Biden’s government has tried easing paperwork and eligibility requirements of the funds, but management is appointed to the state and local officials.
The White House moved the duty to states
In a statement on Friday, Biden said, “There can be no justification for any state or locality not speeding the process of funds to landlords and tenants that have suffered during this pandemic. Every state and local government must get these funds out to guarantee we stop every eviction we can.”
Biden continued that “While the White House cannot act, there is nothing stopping state and local authorities from starting their protections.”
Halting the termination to the eviction ban
Pelosi declared the delays an unfair “bureaucratic situation.” and tweeted “I’m pulling out all the stops right now,” on Twitter, last Friday.
California Democrat Maxine Waters, chair of the House Financial Services Committee, presented the bill to prolong the ban of evictions.
However, some Democrats reject this decision and a congressional source verified to AFP that numerous were preparing to leave town instead of voting, ensuring that it’s difficult for the party to get a majority vote for approval of the bill.
Currently, a few states and Washington, DC, have forced their temporary eviction protections and the White House also asked government departments associated with housing to prolong eviction bans for federally covered properties.
There is an added $21.5 billion ready to go in the funding for the second time, but will not be given until the first amount of funds is fully utilized.