The epidemic of evictions is coming. No one knows precisely when, just that it is. The moratorium on evictions has been extended again, but eventually, they will be permitted to resume. Many millions of Americans are facing evictions. With unemployment at egregiously high levels and limited hope for dramatic improvement soon, people are unlikely to pay next month’s rent — much less make up their rental arrears — and add to this ever-growing number of people struggling with housing insecurity.
Their problem, unfortunately, is our problem. While eviction is a profound personal tragedy, it is also a collective tragedy in this current situation. Indeed, as the number of those experiencing housing insecurity and homelessness rise, so does the public health risk we all face. COVID-19 preys on those of us without sufficient support, and who among us has less support than the homeless? This situation is a recipe for total, unmitigated disaster.
We cannot afford to delay the inevitable any longer. Our elected representatives need to take dramatic action during these unprecedented times. Our governments must enact meaningful legislation that waives rental obligations for those who have lost income due to the pandemic while treating landlords fairly. That legislation must set a clear timeline for the reopening of housing courts. The current uncertainty is unsustainable.
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