Hot topics during the 2020 presidential election campaign included reparations, structural racism and covid relief programs such as the eviction moratorium. Post-election, these topics have seemingly gone away.
The covid eviction moratorium expired July 31 and liberal Democrats are blasting the White House for not extending it. Several progressive Dems have protested.
“The White House did not handle this well. I think they did not think about this eviction moratorium in a serious way,” said Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, in The Washington Post.
Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.) has camped out on the Capitol steps for several days to protest the expiration of the eviction ban.
White House officials, however, say they agree wholeheartedly that the eviction moratorium should be extended but they can’t do anything due to a recent Supreme Court ruling. In June, SCOTUS said the moratorium could continue until the end of July. House Democrats say Biden could sign an executive order to extend the moratorium.
An estimated 30 million to 40 million people in the U.S. are at risk of eviction due to the covid-19 housing crisis, according to a 2020 report by the Aspen Institute. Evictions will affect Black communities the most, Brookings reported.
“Eviction, or forced relocation, is a critical and understudied mechanism that drives residential mobility, particularly in inner-city neighborhoods among low-income families,” The Washington Post reported.
When tenants fail to pay rent, they violate the terms of their lease and the landlord files an eviction notice with the court. The tenant has a right to a trial and the court decides yea or nay on the eviction.
During the covid-19 pandemic, historic racial inequities in housing security were heightened as renter households were disproportionately affected by housing instability. With Black homeownership at a historic low, Black Americans are more likely to be renters and thus subject to evictions.
Journalist Brian Goldstone, 2021 National Fellow at New America, tweeted, “After a year of paying lip service to dismantling structural racism & closing the racial wealth gap, the Democratic leadership is doing nothing to prevent millions of Black families from being forcibly removed from their homes.”
He included a chart from January 2021 research by the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University that found that 22.6 percent of Black households were behind in their rent, compared to 9.8 percent of white households. At that time, before the initial extension of the eviction moratorium, 9.7 percent of Black renter households reported that they were very likely to be evicted in the next two months, verus 4.4 percent of white households.
Progressive Dem Rep. Rashida Tlaib called out fellow Dems and the White House in a tweet. “The eviction moratorium expired. Democrats lead Congress + @WhiteHouse. We can’t claim we are the party of working people when we allow those very people, even those with children, to be thrown in the street. We need to give states more time. Doing nothing is immoral.”
“Expecting red states to do anything to help desperate citizens is ridiculous & unrealistic! The federal government needs to bypass the states on this & every other substantive issue!” Aubergine – GenX @aubergineaura replied.
Mohammad Jehad Ahmad @MoMisteries responded to Tlaib, asking why “those ‘allies'” in Congress waited “until the weekend before expiration to do anything substantial about it? Every single member of Congress is at fault for this, starting with @SpeakerPelosi.”
Spade @detroitpromo, however, placed the blame on renters not being prepared. He tweeted, “I can’t agree with this one.. It’s been well over a year of people living rent-free if it weren’t for this pandemic people would have to be responsible and people have to be responsible during it. The vast majority have had plenty of time to get it together.”
From 2012 to 2016, more than a third of eviction filings and more than a quarter of evictions were in Black neighborhoods, according to The Brookings Institute. Brookings studied eviction data from the Eviction Lab from 2012 to 2016 at the census tract or neighborhood level. It found that of the 131 metropolitan areas examined, there were averages of 1,880,053 eviction filings and 665,668 evictions per year. Each year, an average of 666,396 of these eviction filings (35.4 percent) and 181,495 of the evictions (27.2 percent) took place in Black-majority neighborhoods.
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