A new report warns that tens of millions of Americans are at risk of eviction due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a moratorium on evictions due to missed payments, which is set to expire on December 31.
Without Congressional action, Stout, a global investment bank and advisory firm, says that nearly five million households across the country could be served eviction notices in January. An additional eight million households have missed payments and could be at risk of eviction in 2021.
A report commissioned by the National Council of State Housing Agencies estimates that Americans struggling due to the economic impact of the global pandemic owe as much as $34 billion in back rent, and the number climbs to $70 billion when late fees and missed utility payments are factored in. American households that are struggling financially owe about an average of $6,000, which equals roughly three months of rent.
“These are low-income households,” Mark Zandi, chief economist for Moody’s Analytics, said according to Bloomberg. “They’ve probably already borrowed as much as they can from family or friends. They have no resources left.”
Experts are worried about what will happen if millions of Americans end up on the streets in the middle of winter during the worst months of the coronavirus pandemic.
“The individuals, children, and the adults facing eviction will not only be at increased risk of contracting and even dying of COVID-19, they will also be at extreme risk of the associated health harms,” said Emily Benfer, a law professor at Wake Forest University, according to The Hill. “And on top of that, they will be relegated to second-class status in that they’ll be pushed to the outskirts of the rental market, they’ll be precluded from seeking employment, from obtaining a mortgage or a car loan, and set on a negative downward trajectory that could alter their futures for the worse.”
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