Washington, DC – NLIHC is urging the Biden administration to prevent a historic wave of evictions this summer by extending, strengthening and enforcing the federal eviction moratorium and by implementing a whole-of-government approach to distribute emergency rental assistance more efficiently and effectively to those most in need. The federal eviction moratorium issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is set to expire on June 30.
While vaccinations rates are up and COVID-19 caseloads are down in many areas, those communities with lower vaccination rates and higher COVID-19 cases tend to be the same as those with renters at heightened risk of eviction when the moratorium expires. Allowing the moratorium to expire before vaccination rates increase in marginalized communities could lead to increased spread of, and deaths from, COVID-19.
While Congress, the Biden administration, and state and local governments are working diligently to provide emergency rental assistance to renters at risk of losing their homes, ongoing roadblocks and new challenges have prevented far too many renters from accessing these resources. If the Biden administration allows the federal eviction moratorium to expire before states and localities can distribute aid to households in need, millions of households would be at immediate risk of housing instability and, in worst case, homelessness. According to the U.S. Census, at least 6 million renter households – predominantly households of color, people with disabilities, and other marginalized people – remain behind on their rent.
The Biden administration must use every tool possible to prevent evictions, as NLIHC lays out in its letter:
- The Biden administration should extend and strengthen the federal eviction moratorium until states and localities can distribute emergency rental assistance and until vaccination rates in marginalized communities have increased.
- To increase awareness of emergency rental assistance, the Biden administration should incorporate it into its National Month of Action in June, convene and activate stakeholders, deploy federal agencies, and partner with state and local governments.
- The Department of Justice should establish eviction delay, diversion, and mitigation measures. The administration should encourage partnerships with legal aid organizations to deploy resources and prevent evictions.
- The administrator should reaffirm renter protections in the ERA program and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau should create a hotline for renters to call to report landlords acting in bad faith.
- The Department of the Treasury should help communities more quickly distribute emergency rental assistance by building on its flexible program guidance, encouraging navigator programs, creating and sharing model programs, and establishing clear program goals and benchmarks.
- To ensure proper oversight, discern best practices, and identify areas for improvement in emergency rental assistance programs and program design, the Biden administration must commit to robust data collection and transparency.
With at least 6 million renter households still behind on rent as the expiration of the eviction moratorium nears, the Biden administration must work quickly and aggressively to avert an historic wave of evictions this summer and fall.