Key Highlights

  • Perfect storm of surging COVID cases, unemployment benefits set to expire and evictions moratoria set to expire
  • Federal eviction/foreclosure protections and CDC’s nationwide eviction moratorium enacted due to pandemic to sunset on December 31

Time is getting tight, too tight, for the 43M Americans who are looking down a too short road that may lead to potential evictions and/or foreclosures by the end of this year. Blurring sight lines on this too short road to evictions and/or foreclosures are the blinding obstructions of unemployment benefits expiring on December 26 and the break-neck speed of surging COVID cases throughout the country.

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Currently, federal eviction and foreclosure moratoria put in place during the COVID pandemic are set to expire on December 31. Even with these protections from the CDC’s national evictions moratorium and the HUD and FHFA moratoria on foreclosures for federally backed mortgages in place, the Eviction Lab tells us that nearly 110,000 evictions have already been filed. If the current president does not extend these moratoria, housing chaos will prevail during the time period of January 1 and Inauguration Day on January 20.

According to The New York Times, many of president-elect Biden’s advisors are convinced “…that deteriorating economic conditions from the renewed surge in COVID-19 infections and the looming threat of millions of Americans losing jobless benefits in December amid a wave of evictions and foreclosures require more urgent action before year’s end. That could mean moving at least part of the way toward…” McConnell’s Senate offer of a $500B relief package.

Other semi-solution relief packages wouldn’t require Congress to sign-off. For example, the president-elect could announce he would sign an executive order on January 20 to extend evictions and foreclosures moratoria.

Most importantly, however, this perfect storm of the raging pandemic and immediately pending expirations of both evictions/foreclosure moratoria and unemployment benefits by the end of December needs to be dampened. According to Jen Psaki, a Biden transition aide, said, “There needs to be emergency assistance and aid during the lame-duck session to help families, to help small business. There’s no more room for delay, and we need to move forward as quickly as possible.”

Mark Zandi, an economist with Moody’s Analytics, is predicting that without a negotiated stimulus package including extended eviction/foreclosure extensions, companies could shed 3M jobs in the first half of 2021 and the unemployment rate could revert back up from its current rate of 6.9% to 10% with homeless families and individuals lining the streets.

Jared Bernstein, an economist with the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, agreed. The “…speed, size and composition…” of a stimulus package including housing protections “…are all important…” in a stimulus agreement, “…but speed is especially important.”

 

Thanks to Curbed and The New York Times.

Also read: Millions of Evictions Are Sharper Threat as Government Support Expires, California Tenants Plan Rent Strikes – “This Is About Survival”, NY State Evictions Moratorium Expires & Housing Courts Reopen