On his first day in office, President Joe Biden instructed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to extend the federal eviction moratorium through at least March 2021. CDC Director Rochelle Walensky announced that extension until at least March 31 on January 20, stating that because “COVID-19 continues to spread in America at a concerning pace…we must take action to get cases down and keep people in their homes and out of congregate settings – like shelters – where COVID-19 can take an even stronger foothold.”
The federal eviction moratorium, which was slated to expire on January 31, has kept millions of people stably housed during the pandemic. Without President Biden’s action to extend the federal eviction moratorium, tens of millions of renters would have been at risk of losing their homes this winter, with profound negative consequences for individuals, families, communities, and the nation’s public health and economy.
While extending the moratorium is critical, it is not sufficient to protect renters during the pandemic. As outlined in a letter sent to the president by NLIHC and 2,000 national, state, and local organizations and elected officials, the moratorium has significant shortcomings that undermine its public health impact. Protections under the moratorium are not automatic, and some landlords have exploited loopholes to evict renters by finding reasons for eviction other than nonpayment of rent and often before they know about the protections. Further, no federal agency has enforced the moratorium’s penalties for unlawful evictions, allowing landlords to violate the order without consequence.
To protect America’s lowest-income and most marginalized renters and to prevent the spread of COVID-19, President Biden and CDC Director Walensky must act quickly to strengthen and enforce the moratorium. At the same time, President Biden and incoming Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen must ensure that emergency rental assistance quickly reaches renters most at risk of eviction, and the entire Biden administration must work with Congress to enact a comprehensive COVID-19 relief package that includes NLIHC’s top priorities to address the urgent health and housing needs of low-income renters and people experiencing homelessness.
See the CDC announcement at: https://bit.ly/3o5p8Vh