Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was among several critics on Friday who warned that the Biden administration's plan to allow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's eviction moratorium to expire on July 31 would have devastating consequences for millions of renters as well as threatening public health as Covid-19 cases surge.
President Joe Biden extended the moratorium by one month in June but has shown no signs that he plans to do the same this month.
According to US Treasury Department data, dozens of jurisdictions across the country have yet to start distributing assistance funds for renters that were appropriated in March as part of the American Rescue Plan Act.
"It is reckless not to extend the deadline when rental assistance funds have not gone out fast enough to protect people," said Ocasio-Cortez on Friday. "Eviction filings have already spiked in anticipation of the deadline being lifted."
According to analysis by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities released this week, 11.4 million renters—or one in seven—are behind on rent payments. Advocates say about six million are at risk of promptly losing their homes if the eviction moratorium is not extended at the end of July.
Millions of Americans on brink of eviction despite billions in aid passed by Congress. More than 80 jurisdictions hadn’t even started their distribution programs by end of May. June distribution increase (85%⬆️ from May) is promising but not fast enough. https://t.co/1b0Dwqvx9y pic.twitter.com/IMn8NQ29ut— Emily A. Benfer (@emilyabenfer) July 23, 2021
According to Paul Williams, a fellow at the Jain Family Institute, about 80% of those six million people "live in counties with rapid, Delta variant-driven [Covid-1] case growth."
Though the Biden administration has not signaled that it plans to extend aid for renters, the White House on Friday announced it will allow homeowners with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac-backed mortgages to delay their payments until September, a measure that will help 1.8 million people in forebearance.
Vast majority of that 6 million are in counties with rapid, Delta variant driven case growth.https://t.co/fCdFCjeDgK— Paul E Williams (@PEWilliams_) July 23, 2021
Diane Yentel, president and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition, called on Biden to provide more assistance to renters as well.
"The CDC eviction moratorium is a necessary public health measure to lessen spread of [and] deaths from Covid-19," Yentel said. "The need clearly remains as Delta surges."