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NO SHELTER IN THE COVID-19 STORM: 28 MILLION AMERICAN RENTERS FACE EVICTIONS

by Sunita Sohrabji | Jul 21, 2020
7/21/2020



Clockwise, from top left: Dr. Margot Kushel, executive director of the Center for Vulnerable Populations at the University of California, San Francisco; Nisha Vyas, senior attorney at the Western Center for Law and Poverty; Akash Kalia, owner of the Palms Inn in Santa Rosa, California; Emily Benfer, co-creator of The Eviction Lab COVID-19 Housing Policy Scorecard at Princeton University; and Delegate Kumar Barve, Maryland state House of Delegates. (all photos via twitter)

By SUNITA SOHRABJI/EMS Contributing Editor

SAN FRANCISCO — An estimated 28 million renters in the U.S. are facing evictions over the next three months, as states begin lifting their COVID-19 related eviction moratoriums.

In April, most U.S. states imposed some manner of lockdown to control the spread of the virus, restricting most workers to their homes. Unemployment rates shot to 14.7 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. More than one-third of renters did not pay their rent that month, according to data from the National Multifamily Housing Council.

Many states enacted eviction moratoriums, banning landlords from evicting a tenant due to non-payment of rent. But as those moratoriums expire in August, 20 to 28 million renters are facing evictions, said Emily Benfer, visiting professor and director of the Health Justice Clinic at Wake Forest School of Law and co-creator of the COVID-19 Housing Policy Scorecard with the Eviction Lab at Princeton University.

The Congressional CARES Act, which provides 120 days of eviction relief for tenants in federally-backed housing, is set to expire July 25.

“50 million renters today live in households that suffered COVID-19 related job loss or income loss. And 40 percent of that occurred in especially low income households,” said Benfer, at a July 17 briefing on evictions, organized by Ethnic Media Services.

Other speakers at the briefing included Delegate Kumar Barve, of the Maryland state House of Delegates; Dr. Margot Kushel, director of the Center for Vulnerable Populations at the University of California, San Francisco; Nisha Vyas, senior attorney at the Western Center for Law and Poverty; and Akash Kalia, who in 2015 converted his father’s Santa Rosa, California motel into a shelter for chronically homeless people and veterans.

Black and Latino renters — who have disproportionately experienced COVID-19 job losses and deaths — are at highest risk for being unable to pay their rents, said Benfer.

Children are severely hit by evictions, Kushel said, noting that an abrupt loss of home can lead to disruptions in education and resulting mental health issues.

Kushel predicted there would be a 20 to 40 percent rise in homelessness as eviction moratoriums are lifted. She acknowledged state and federal efforts focused on people currently experiencing homelessness such as California’s Project Homekey, a $600 million state initiative to buy hotels and motels to house un-sheltered people.

“But this will be a drop in the bucket for people who are currently experiencing homelessness and will not address the new inflows into homelessness,” she cautioned, adding that permanent solutions require a dramatic increase in the number of affordable housing units, along with an expansion of rental support.

California is home to about 22 percent of the nation’s homeless population, with more than 150,000 people experiencing homelessness, according to 2018 data from the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness. 45 percent of California’s residents are renters.

On July 1, California Governor Gavin Newsom extended the state’s eviction moratorium to Sept. 30.

Delegate Kumar Barve, who chairs the Maryland state House of Delegates Environment and Transportation Committee, sent a letter July 7 to Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, asking him to extend the state’s eviction moratorium to Jan. 31, 2021. He noted that in a typical year in Maryland, a miniscule portion of the population faces eviction.

“If you up that to 10 percent or 15 percent, you suddenly have a problem. What we’re talking about in that instance would be a full scale social disruption,” said Barve, the longest serving Indian American legislator.

Misha Vyas of the Western Center for Law and Poverty discussed the lack of due process for tenants, who must file a response to their eviction notice within five days. Eviction lawsuits are fast-tracked: more than 75 percent are settled within 45 days, largely in favor of the landlords who are represented by attorneys, while the vast majority of tenants are not.

“The process is designed to be very efficient and to provide consistent results for landlords to be able to eject tenants and recover their properties. There’s often very little regard for the outcome of tenants,” said Vyas.

“Evictions have played a significant role in creating California’s affordable housing crisis and our homelessness crisis,” she said, noting that some extremely low income households pay 90 percent of their income in rent.

WCLP is co-sponsoring AB 1436 in the California State Legislature, which would create a process for tenants to pay back owed rent, and allow landlords to pursue unpaid rent via civil actions rather than evictions. The bill would also restrict negative impacts to a renter’s credit history after being served an eviction notice.

“We’ve talked about the eviction crisis as a tsunami, and that metaphor is intended to capture the magnitude of the crisis, but this is not a natural disaster. It’s a disaster of our own making. To prevent it, we need to advocate for meaningful governmental intervention,” said Vyas.

Kalia offered a path forward for the hospitality industry to bail itself out of the COVID crisis, which has left many hoteliers with empty rooms. The average homeless person costs a community about $80,000 per year, he said, noting that he has been able to house individuals for about $13,000 per year, including support services for mental health, substance abuse, and physical ailments.

“Hotel owners in California have the ability to salvage their livelihoods by really accepting this model,” said Kalia, noting that hoteliers can make use of Project Homekey funds to convert their hotels and motels into permanent housing for currently un-sheltered people.

“None of us know how long the hospitality industry is going to be hit. And this is a way for hotel owners to maintain their business viability and also provide a social good for the most vulnerable population,” he said.


相关讯息

HUNGER IN THE PANDEMIC: 14 MILLION CHILDREN IN THE U.S. DO NOT EAT THE FOODS THEY NEED 
 

14 MILLION U.S. CHILDREN WILL GO HUNGRY THIS WEEK 
 

11TH HOUR SAVE FOR CALIFORNIA RENTERS FACING EVICTION IS NOT PERMANENT SOLUTION: ASSEMBLYMAN DAVID CHIU 
 

WITHOUT ART, THE STARK REALITIES OF COVID WOULD MAKE THE WORLD UNBEARABLE 
 

族裔媒体服务社(EMS)网上会议:艺术和文化需要生存的“新交易”吗? 
族裔媒体服务社(Ethnic Media Services)9月11日早上11点举行网上会议,会议的主题是艺术和文化需要生存的“新交易”吗?会议讨论在疫情的影响之下,许多艺术家及演艺人员,随著剧院及表演艺术中心因疫情而关闭,艺术作品及巡回演出的停止,造成了120亿美元的损失。大约近百分之94的艺术家及演艺人员面对收入的暴跌。会议除了与艺术家及文艺推广从业人员对话中了解疫情对他们的影响之外还会着重于如何拯救美国的艺术界由疫情中脱困。

11TH HOUR SAVE FOR CALIFORNIA RENTERS FACING EVICTION IS NOT PERMANENT SOLUTION: ASSEMBLYMAN DAVID CHIU 
 

14 MILLION U.S. CHILDREN WILL GO HUNGRY THIS WEEK 
 

加州人口普查领导人士:我们还有30天的机会改变社会 少数族裔媒体服务中心 
 

Governor Newsom Declares State of Emergency in Fresno, Madera, Mariposa, San Bernardino and San Diego Counties Due to Fire 
 

族裔媒体服务社(EMS)网上会议:如何在我们的社区中提供安全与正义并防止右翼极端主义 
 

Governor Newsom Signs Executive Order in Response to COVID-19 9.3.20 
 

Governor Newsom Signs Emergency Proclamation to Free Up Additional Energy Capacity Amid Heat Wave 
 

族裔媒体服务社(EMS)网上会议:解决房客和房东驱离危机的立法最新信息 
 

BILL TO “SAVE LOCAL JOURNALISM” AWAITING GOV. NEWSOM’S SIGNATURE 
 

Governor Newsom Signs Executive Order to Help Increase State’s Testing Capacity 
 

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叛逆 (1) 


洗衣妇成为最富足的人 (1) 
人们尊敬她,是因为她的奉献仅仅是出于对下一代的爱心,她只想让她辛苦积蓄下来的钱派上用场。正是由于这个乐天知命的态度和简朴无华的智能感动了世人。

你手若有行善的力量,不可推辞,就当向那应得的人施行 - 箴言, 三章二十七节


朱易 :非洲要接福音大使命的最后一棒 

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他们甚至认为,传统的讲道,就是用文字描述图象来传达信息,而多媒体则是用图象说明文字来传达信息。因此,文字是图象的抽象化,而图象则是文字的具体化。因此多媒体并不是改革宗传统的消失,而是将多元对话引进到传统中。


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