Eleven million families face being thrown out of their homes. That’s because the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) ban on evictions and foreclosures expired July 31.
So at least 30 million people have no legal protection from a landlord or bank kicking them out of their apartments and houses. At the same time, there’s another upsurge in the coronavirus pandemic.
The grave health risks caused by being homeless during the COVID-19 crisis are why the CDC imposed the moratorium. Evictions led to hundreds of thousands of more cases of the coronavirus.
Families living in shelters or in their cars are much more likely to get infected. So are elderly and disabled people.
Overcrowded housing is a big reason why the death rates from COVID-19 are two and three times as high among Black, Indigenous and Latinx people as among whites.
These facts of life and death don’t mean much to sexual predator Brett Kavanaugh. The U.S. Supreme Court judge told the Biden administration that he wasn’t going to allow more than a one-month extension on the CDC moratorium.
To judges like Kavanaugh, property rights always come before human rights. How are families supposed to pay their rent or mortgage when more than 30 million lost their jobs since the pandemic began?
California, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, New York and Washington, D.C., have imposed their own bans on evictions and foreclosures. People living in these areas won’t be immediately affected by the CDC moratorium coming to an end.
Worst housing crisis since Great Depression
But in the rest of the United States, landlords and banksters will be running to court demanding an avalanche of evictions and foreclosures. This is the worst housing crisis since 90 years ago during the Great Depression.
What is to be done?
Both the Biden administration and the Democratic Party leaders in Congress knew this catastrophe was coming. They did practically nothing to stop the runaway train.
Rep. Cori Bush from St. Louis is outraged at this inaction. She slept overnight outside the U.S. Capitol to demand Congress reconvene and stop evictions.
Representative Bush knows what it is to be homeless. After being evicted, she had to live in her car with her children.
Congress did authorize $47 billion to help pay back rent. But only $3 billion has been spent.
Many landlords are refusing to accept the money. They just want to evict people. That’s criminal.
That’s what Roxanne Schaefer is facing in West Warwick, R.I. The disabled woman lives in an apartment that is not properly serviced or maintained, with a rent of $995 per month. Her slumlord refuses to take federal rental assistance.
Behind even the biggest landlords are the banks that own the mortgages. They would rather have millions on the street in cardboard boxes than lower rents.
It was because 26 million people took to the streets demanding justice for George Floyd that Congress did anything to stop evictions and foreclosures. They need to fear us again.
We need to join and support organizations like the Crown Heights Tenant Union in Brooklyn. The housing courts need to be surrounded by people.
Ninety years ago the Unemployed Councils stopped evictions in Chicago. The power of the people can stop the tidal wave of evictions and foreclosures.