Reality Check | ecoWURD | radio
Doug Ryan, Senior Fellow at Prosperity Now joined ecoWURD on Reality Check with Charles Ellison to discuss the scheduled end of the nationwide federal eviction moratorium and what that means in the short term and long term. Nearly 11 million renters are now behind on rent. Many will be in jeopardy come June 30. With nearly $47 billion of emergency rental assistance in the pipeline, courts and localities must allow these dollars to reach families. (As of April 1, in Texas, just 250 of 70,000 applicants received assistance and in other states it’s a similar story.)
“Far too many localities ignored the moratoria. In some cases, there may be fair housing and civil rights violations that need federal attention,” says Ryan. “An ideal situation is for the federal government to fund legal services for eviction cases: 90 percent of landlords have legal representation, yet just 10 percent of renters do. This is unfair and leads to bad outcomes. even when rental assistance and moratoria are in place.”
“The ending of additional unemployment benefits in many states will worsen the eviction crisis. The unemployment benefits are getting to families in need weekly but the pandemic rental assistance program is still getting built and in many states the majority of these funds have not been distributed.”
Only a handful of states are agreeing to either extend eviction moratoriums, provide protections in the aftermath or fulling using federal monies for rental assistance. California’s governor recently announced that the state will pay a total of $5.2 billion in back-rent from the pandemic. New York and New Jersey plan to extend moratoriums into the late summer. Vermont is extending until July. Oregon has instituted a rule that renters cannot be evicted for back-rent between April 2020 through June 2021, and will give tenants till February 2022 to make up for all past-due rent.