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CDC’s Eviction Moratorium Offers Welcome, But Interim, Relief

NASHVILLE, Tenn., September 3, 2020 — On Tuesday evening, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced an order establishing a nationwide eviction moratorium. Under the order, evictions are banned through December 31, 2020, for tenants unable to pay rent due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This brings tremendous relief to the millions of people living on the edge of homelessness, especially since the prior federal eviction moratorium expired on July 24. In justifying this action, the CDC emphasized the health implications of homelessness, and the prevailing national interest to ensure housing stability, particularly in the midst of an infectious disease pandemic.

While this order is a solid step that offers temporary relief, there remains a dire need for Congress to reach an agreement on a COVID-19 funding bill that contains significant rental assistance, state aid, and other investments. Indeed, Congress has abdicated its role to provide for the general welfare of this country and, as we said in a recent statement, the inaction is disgraceful. This order does not relieve tenants of their obligation to pay rent and it does not prevent landlords from charging fees or penalties, or evicting tenants for reasons other than nonpayment of rent.

“This is great news and I know many will be happy to hear it. However, it feels like a band-aid. What happens when all that rent comes due again? I know many people who are living in homes with the lights off because they already can’t pay bills. If they can’t pay now, they won’t be able to pay come January. For people who can’t make rent, and for people who are homeless, what we need is real financial support,” says Deidre Young, Co-Chair of the National Health Care for the Homeless Council’s Consumer Advisory Board (NCAB).

Congress must return to work and immediately pass legislation that provides long-overdue relief. “This is the barest minimum that could be done. Without rental assistance and additional funds to states to backfill their losses, this coming winter will be a very hard one for America’s poorest people, and will certainly undermine all our efforts to respond to COVID-19 in an effective way,” says Barbara DiPietro, Ph.D., Senior Director of Policy.

The HCH community must demand action. Find tools from our partners at the National Low Income Housing Coalition’s portal to contact members of Congress, sign organizations onto a letter, share stories, and post on social media. 

Contact: Barbara DiPietro, PhD, Senior Director of Policy, 443-703-1346, bdipietro@nhchc.org.

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