“I vividly remember coming home as a child to find my family’s belongings on the lawn. Evictions leave lifelong scars.” - Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro
Lifelong scars are what await children and families across the country if we don’t take immediate action. The eviction moratorium that was protecting millions of families from homelessness was lifted yesterday and now rent (and back rent) is due. This is happening even as billions of dollars in relief funds earmarked for renters and rental assistance remain undistributed by state and local governments. And all this is happening as cases of the COVID-19 Delta variant quickly rise.
According to the National Low Income Housing Association, “6.5 million renter households remain behind on rent and at heightened risk of losing both their homes and their ability to stay safe during the pandemic” if the eviction moratorium isn’t extended.
Why now? Because families are still waiting on critical federal renter relief that still hasn’t been disbursed in states.
Including states like Florida which is currently seeing a historic increase in COVID-19 cases with 21,683 new cases reported just last Saturday. To date, Florida has only been able to disburse 2% of the millions in renter and landlord federal relief dollars it received to make sure vulnerable families aren’t pushed into homelessness. In fact, only $3 billion of the $46 billion in emergency rental relief passed by Congress has been spent across all states.
Let’s make something clear here. Families are trying their best to weather this storm and shouldn’t have to pay the price of delayed relief funding and a pandemic that continues to impact our communities. These are factors that families have no control over. Especially our moms and moms of color who are experiencing increased economic instability. In fact, one Harvard study recently reported by the New Republic found that “having children is the single greatest predictor of if someone will face eviction”.