Something I have constantly hammered about the seriousness of COVID-19 is that tens of millions of people could become homeless because of the economic effects caused by the fallout from the virus. This is a homeless crisis like never before seen in the US with major social and political consenquences. CNBC is reporting, in looming confirmation of our worst fears, that forty million people- or approximately the total population of Poland -could lose their homes by way of being unable to pay their mortgages because of the effects of COVID-19.
ven as unemployment levels remain at historic highs and cases of the virus show no sign of abating, statewide eviction moratoriums in more than 30 states have now lifted and protections for renters in the CARES Act are gone.
In Republicans’ plan for a second stimulus package, unveiled earlier this week, there’s no mention of extending the pause on evictions in properties backed by a federal mortgage or where tenants receive government assistance. Worsening the situation is the fact that by July 31 some 25 million Americans will stop receiving the weekly $600 federal unemployment checks. In the end, up to 40 million Americans may lose their homes, four times the amount seen during the Great Recession.
“The United States is facing the most severe housing crisis in history,” said Emily Benfer, an eviction expert and a visiting professor of law at Wake Forest University. “Countless lives will be negatively altered solely because they couldn’t shoulder the extraordinary circumstances of the pandemic and economic recession.”
Benfer has said the U.S. needs “a nationwide uniform moratorium on eviction,” coupled with cash assistance to renters so that landlords aren’t driven into financial ruin.
Country-wide moratoriums on evictions have been issued in Germany and Spain for three to six months at a time, Benfer pointed out. “Instead of providing meaningful emergency rental assistance to prevent a housing crisis, Congress has offered the equivalent of a hand towel in a hurricane,” she said.
Lawyers CNBC contacted said they were inundated with eviction cases as these moratoriums lift.
“Our eviction intake is up three times what it was last year,” said Alexis Erkert, a lawyer with Southeast Louisiana Legal Services, adding that she’s currently representing around 120 families at risk of losing their homes. “Now that the CARES Act is expired, we’re bracing ourselves for an ever larger spike.”
An eviction is already a traumatic event. It’s even worse amid a public health crisis, Erkert said.
“You’re doubling up with family, going to a shelter or living on the street,” she said. “That’s only going to further spread the virus.”
Across the U.S., more than 40% of renter households are at risk of eviction, according to a new analysis by global advisory firm Stout Risius Ross. (source)
This is just the beginning, as I have warned.
Things are going to get a lot worse as people are put out of work and have nowhere to go and nothing for a future to look forward to.
We are in the process of making a revolution, and in the worst way.
Be on guard, and prepare wisely, because the future is going to be very difficult.