As COVID-19 hit this spring and workers were let go by the millions across the country, the federal government and many state governments ordered moratoriums on evictions. All of these moratoriums have either recently expired or about to expire, at the same time that extra federal unemployment benefits are also ending. Even before the pandemic, 25% of all renters in the U.S. were already overburdened, paying more than half their income in rent.
Some housing experts predict a tidal wave of evictions in the next few months, leading to massive homelessness. Many of those affected will be minorities and households led by women, both of whom historically are more likely to be evicted. Despite the federal moratorium that ended July 24, some landlords have raised rent, issued late fees, and initiated eviction proceedings earlier than the federal timeline, which requires 30 days notice for eviction.
The roots of our nation’s housing crisis is complex, and certainly landlords can’t shoulder all the blame. There are no easy answers, but Christian Legal Aid attorneys can help mitigate the problem by helping tenants from being unfairly evicted or taken advantage of by unscrupulous landlords. Though we can’t solve the problem for everyone, we can do our part.
Director, CLS Law School Fellows
Law Student Ministries Coordinator