“Tsunami” of Evictions Could Make 28 Million Americans Homeless This Summer Alone

“Tsunami” of Evictions Could Make 28 Million Americans Homeless This Summer Alone by  for Activist Post

With the pandemic continuing to sink its claws into the United States, economic conditions have also failed to improve for millions of people. As a result, nearly one-third U.S. households – representing 32 percent – have still not made their full housing payments for the month of July, according to a survey from online rental platform Apartment List.

And with public health experts warning people to continue to “Stay at Home,” the slogan is taking on a perverse new meaning as humanitarian disaster looms for some 28 million people in the U.S. who are facing eviction and homelessness in the immediate future.

About 19 percent of those surveyed were unable to make any housing payment in the first week of the month, while 13 percent paid a portion of their rent or mortgage.

The numbers represent the grim fact that for four months now, a “historically high” amount of U.S. households have been unable to pay their housing bill, either on time or in full. It also represents an increase from 30 percent in June and 31 percent in June.

According to Apartment List, those most likely to miss their payments were younger, low-income, or renters. Other experts warn that Black and Latino families face the highest risk of eviction. They also may be entering the start of a rapid and vicious cycle, the report suggests.

“Delayed payments in one month are a strong predictor for missed payments in the next,” Apartment List says. Indeed, 83 percent of households who paid the entirety of their May housing costs in a timely way did the same in June, but only 30 percent of households who were late in May did so in June.

As the economic crisis continues to spiral unabated, tens of millions of Americans continue to survive on unemployment while their economic stimulus checks have long been gone.

“The economic fallout from the pandemic does not appear on track for the quick V-shaped recovery that many had originally hoped for,” Apartment List notes.

And with unemployment benefits expiring while eviction bans and moratoriums that deferred rent payments are being lifted by local governments, experts and advocates are warning that we could see a tsunami of mass evictions across the country that exceeds anything ever seen.

Emily Benfer is the chair of the American Bar Association’s Task Force Committee on Eviction and co-creator of the COVID-19 Housing Policy Scorecard with the Eviction Lab at Princeton University. In an interview with CNBC, Benfer explained that the current public health crisis will soon see tens of millions of people losing their homes in the coming weeks.

“We have never seen this extent of eviction in such a truncated amount of time in our history,” she said. “We can expect this to increase dramatically in the coming weeks and months, especially as the limited support and intervention measures that are in place start to expire.”

“About 10 million people, over a period of years, were displaced from their homes following the foreclosure crisis in 2008,” she added.

“We’re looking at 20 million to 28 million people in this moment, between now and September, facing eviction.”

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