Their assistance efforts, Rep. Waters noted, “will prove meaningless if families are evicted before receiving relief.”
California U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters has introduced a bill to renew the eviction moratorium put into place at the height of the coronavirus pandemic to protect renters who may still owe back rent.
President Joe Biden has signaled that he is supportive of extending the bill; however, there could still be challenges for it to pass the House and Senate, and recent rulings by the conservative-leaning Supreme Court have not been in its favor.
Rep. Maxine Waters attends a Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis hearing on Capitol Hill earlier this month about how to counter vaccine hesitancy. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
The ruling disallows the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) from extending the moratorium, which will now require an act of Congress.
Waters, who is chair of the House Financial Services Committee, released a statement accompanying her new legislation, the Protecting Renters from Evictions Act of 2021, saying, “The current eviction moratorium expires in two days, on July 31, putting millions of people at great risk of eviction and homelessness. In one of the wealthiest countries in the world, this is unacceptable. Even before the pandemic, more than 580,000 people are experiencing homelessness on any given night, and 10.5 million households were paying more than 50 percent of their income on rent.”
“Extending the moratorium until the end of the year is the right thing to do,” she added, “to prevent increases in homelessness and the spread of the coronavirus, while states and communities work to distribute the $46.6 billion in emergency rental assistance provided by Congress.”
Only a fraction of these federal funds has been distributed, as theGrio’s previous reporting. Only about $3 billion of the first tranche of $25 billion has been distributed through June by states and localities. Some states — like New York — have distributed almost nothing, while several have only approved a few million.
“Our efforts to provide emergency rental assistance will prove meaningless if families are evicted before receiving relief,” Waters noted. “We must also recognize the reality that, unlike big corporate landlords that often have reserves to fall back on, small mom-and-pop landlords depend on rent to cover their monthly mortgage payments and other costs.”
An extension of the moratorium would be the fifth one for the legislation, which has seen support from renters and complaints from landlords.
The Biden administration will not intervene in the moratorium expiration, set for Saturday.
“Given the recent spread of the Delta variant, including among those Americans both most likely to face evictions and lacking vaccinations, President Biden would have strongly supported a decision by the CDC to further extend this eviction moratorium to protect renters at this moment of heightened vulnerability,” the White House said in a statement. “Unfortunately, the Supreme Court has made clear that this option is no longer available.”
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