(ATLANTA) — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday announced it has approved a 30-day extension to the eviction moratorium, prohibiting the eviction of renters who are unable to make payments more than one year after the COVID-19 pandemic took hold of the country.
The CDC said Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky has signed an extension to the eviction moratorium, which was set to expire on June 30, 2021, through July 31, 2021.
It’s intended to be the final extension of the moratorium, according to a release from the CDC.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has presented a historic threat to the nation’s public health. Keeping people in their homes and out of crowded or congregate settings — like homeless shelters — by preventing evictions is a key step in helping to stop the spread of COVID-19,” the release said.
The extension comes after several leading progressive Democrats on Capitol Hill urged the White House and CDC to extend and strengthen the federal eviction moratorium. In a letter sent late Monday, 44 House Democrats including Reps. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., Cori Bush, D-Mo., Jimmy Gomez, D-Calif., and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y. called on President Joe Biden and the CDC to take action against the looming deadline.
“Allowing the moratorium to expire before vaccination rates increase in marginalized communities could lead to increased spread of, and deaths from, COVID-19,” their letter read.
The National Low Income Housing Coalition, a non-profit focused on affordable housing, applauded the decision and what it called activation of a “whole-of-government approach” the administration is implementing.
“These actions from the White House extend an essential lifeline to millions of renters who remain behind on rent and would be at heightened risk of eviction when the moratorium expires,” the organization said in a statement.
In addition to extending the eviction moratorium, the White House confirmed in a fact sheet it is convening a summit of local teams to develop eviction-prevention action plans, issuing new guidance from Treasury for the Emergency Rental Assistance, or ERA, instructing the Department of Justice to send guidance on anti-eviction diversion practices, and raise awareness across agencies about emergency rental assistance, among other measures.
According to the Census Bureau more than 7 million American households are behind on their rent, including nearly 4 million with children. Black and Latino households are more likely than white households to be behind and currently struggling, according to the Census Bureau.
To be eligible for the protection, renters can earn no more than $99,000 in annual income for the calendar year of 2020-2021 or $198,000 in annual income for couples who filing jointly, among other declarations of hardship to the governemnt.
The moratorium has been repeatedly challenged in court by local governments and landlord associations, which have argued the CDC overstepped its authority and does not have a mechanism for enforcing the rule. Still, more than 20 state attorneys general urged the Supreme Court earlier this month to keep the moratorium in place while those cases make their way through the courts. Local property owners and a group of real estate agents in Alabama have said the halt will “prolong the severe financial burdens” on those collecting rent payments.
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