Covid cases could intensify if the eviction ban expires, experts warn
Protesters gather for a rally to support bills and laws to block evictions in Massachusetts for up to a year.
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The country’s attempts to bring the coronavirus pandemic under control could be undermined by the impending expiration of the national eviction ban, experts warn.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s moratorium on most evictions across the country has been in place since September 2020 but is set to expire in a week.
According to a survey published this month by the Census Bureau, around one in five adult renters say they haven’t paid last month’s rent. Closer to 1 in 3 black tenants said the same thing.
According to a recent study, continuing the mass evictions could lead to an increase in cases and deaths in Covid.
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That’s because many displaced people double up with family members or friends or are forced to turn to overcrowded shelters.
During the pandemic, 43 states and Washington, DC temporarily banned evictions. Many of the moratoriums only lasted 10 weeks, while some states continue to ban the process.
The researchers found that continuing evictions in these states between March and September caused 433,700 cases of Covid-19 and 10,700 additional deaths in the U.S. before the CDC ban went into effect nationwide.
“If you look at an infectious disease like Covid-19, evictions can have implications not only for the health of displaced families, but the health of the wider community,” said Kathryn Leifheit, one of the study’s authors and a postdoctoral fellow at UCLA Fielding School of Public Health.
Evicting tenants is a last resort, said Bob Pinnegar, president of the National Apartment Association. However, the last year has marginalized the landlords, he said.
“Over 50% of rental housing providers in the country are mom and pop owners who rely on their few housing units as their only source of income,” he said. “The reserves are running out and in many cases are exhausted.”
The CDC has sent the Bureau of Administration and Budget a proposal to review the rules, which experts say indicates that the health authority is taking steps to maintain protection.
The Washington Post reported Wednesday that the ban can be extended through July.
CDC spokesman Jason McDonald said a decision to extend the moratorium had not been made. And the White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Meanwhile, housing advocates are watching the clock and saying the ban must be in place at least until the historic cash pot allocated by Congress for rent arrears is distributed.
“An expired moratorium only increases disease transmission and defeats the purpose of the $ 45 billion support,” said Emily Benfer, eviction expert and visiting law professor at Wake Forest University.