Gerardo Vidal, who has lived in the same apartment in Queens, New York, with his family for 9 years, recently received a $900-a-month rent increase this year. “It means having to uproot my entire family, given the fact we’re still having a difficult time earning money due to the pandemic and loss of jobs,” said Vidal. “It’s unfair that we are being basically forced out of places we lived in for nine years and that landlords can get away with this.” Vidal is one of thousands of tenants in New York and countless others around the US who are currently experiencing drastic rent increases—a trend that has been decades in the making but, combined with an inflation squeeze and systemic shortage of affordable housing, is causing havoc for renters. These rent hikes are effectively serving as evictions by landlords who know full well that tenants will likely have to move as a result, enabling the landlords to rent out units to new tenants at greater rates.
Keene, New Hampshire - Community organizers in Keene, New Hampshire, pitched tents in Central Square Park outside of Keene City Hall for an overnight protest on the evening of May 21 to draw attention to an impending eviction of a homeless encampment behind the local Aldi and Kohls. Earlier in May the encampment was served an eviction for May 23. The eviction notice was delivered by city police, accompanied by new “no trespassing” signs tacked to trees in the camps. The residents are being evicted by property owner Wilder Co. only two months after an eviction behind the local Hannaford supermarket forced many to relocate to the woods behind Aldi and Kohls. Campers described eviction after eviction to outreach volunteers from Keene Mutual Aid, one saying “We have nowhere else to go.”
Kansas City, Kansas - Pat Lucas received the notification last August: She would have to vacate the Armour Flats building in the 3400 block of Holmes Street in Kansas City — her home for more than 17 years — by November. The management company was going to renovate the property, causing her rent to shoot up, from a little over $500 a month to more than $1,000. She was priced out and had to move. Lucas shared her story Saturday as KC Tenants, a local organization advocating for housing rights, held a rally to announce it was creating a citywide tenant’s union. The organization will work with every local neighborhood association with a goal of getting 10,000 union members.
A Wayne County judge on March 29 granted a motion by Treasurer Eric R. Sabree extending the ban on owner-occupied homes being placed in jeopardy of seizure and public auction. This decision came in the aftermath of a campaign by the Moratorium NOW! Coalition (MNC) and other housing groups in the city of Detroit. A resolution was passed on March 29 by the Detroit City Council in favor of an extension after numerous people spoke out at the municipal legislative meeting calling on people to participate in the demonstration the following day at the Wayne County Treasurer’s Office in the Greektown district of Downtown. Although this resolution was passed without opposition, the MNC is calling for a permanent solution to the housing crisis in Detroit and throughout the county.
New York’s pandemic eviction moratorium expires today; it began in March 2020 when then-governor Andrew Cuomo ordered a temporary ban on eviction proceedings in response to eviction protests and calls for action to protect tenants. Hundreds of thousands of households across the state owe back rent and now face eviction. Forty-one percent of these households include children, and 72 percent of the affected renters are people of color. According to the Eviction Lab at Princeton University, there have been 81,530 eviction filings in New York City alone since March 2020. Many are now set to proceed amidst a new Covid surge and sub-freezing temperatures. After Cuomo’s executive order, the Covid-19 Emergency Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Act was enacted in December 2020, putting a temporary stay on eviction proceedings if tenants filed a form demonstrating they had suffered pandemic-related financial hardship.
Asheville, NC - Community members, including tenants and precariously housed people, have come together on November 4th to resist an eviction in support of a multi-generational family experiencing forced displacement by Buncombe County. A number of people have occupied the property and have refused to leave until the city and county enact real solutions to the widely experienced housing crisis. Dressed as woodland creatures, the group brought a banner that says “Everyone needs a home”. The family being evicted—a mother, grandmother and two children under 5, who wish to remain unnamed due to fear of finding suitable housing in the future—has been living in their home in the Sweeten Creek area for six years in good standing, with part of their rent covered by the Section 8 program.
As part of national days of protest called by Cancel the Rents, more than 60 demonstrations took place in cities and towns across the United States September 24-26 calling on Congress to immediately pass an indefinite nationwide moratorium on evictions. Protesters also demanded the cancellation of the crushing debt to landlords that had built up over the course of the pandemic as tenants’ were unable to work and back rent accumulated. Tens of billions of dollars have already been allocated for renter relief programs by the federal government, but is being distributed excruciatingly slowly — another focus of the protests. Congress has the authority to prevent 11 million evictions from taking place in the midst of a pandemic. This could be accomplished by incorporating an eviction freeze into the social spending budget that is currently under consideration.
According to the Associated Press, a one-night tally in 2020 counted 580,000 people experiencing homelessness in the United States. Advocates say that total is almost certainly a severe undercount, with a more accurate total being upwards of 2 million people. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has acknowledged both the difficulty of helping unhoused folks get vaccinated—most don't have access to transit options—and the reality that they're more likely to be at risk of severe illness because of compounding health issues. But how we actually help our unhoused neighbors get vaccinated varies from city to city, and often relies on NGOs like Southern Solidarity. In Texas, the pandemic brought a swift pivot to healthcare support for Austin's Ending Community Homelessness Coalition (ECHO), a nonprofit that plans and implements strategies to end homelessness in Travis County.
Despite their loud public complaints to lawmakers about the supposed "economic hardships" caused by the CDC's now-terminated eviction moratorium, large real estate companies have privately touted their solid performance during the coronavirus pandemic—and they've rewarded their CEOs with major pay increases. A new report (pdf) provided exclusively to Common Dreams by the government watchdog group Accountable.US shows that large corporate landlords have reported "strong or stable" earnings to investors in recent months as millions of people across the U.S. worried about losing their homes. Thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling against the eviction moratorium on Thursday, millions of people are now at imminent risk of eviction.
Washington — The Supreme Court’s conservative majority is allowing evictions to resume across the United States, blocking the Biden administration from enforcing a temporary ban that was put in place because of the coronavirus pandemic. The court’s action late Thursday ends protections for roughly 3.5 million people in the United States who said they faced eviction in the next two months, according to Census Bureau data from early August. The court said in an unsigned opinion that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which reimposed the moratorium Aug. 3, lacked the authority to do so under federal law without explicit congressional authorization. The justices rejected the administration’s arguments in support of the CDC’s authority.
Out of the $46.5 billion in funding provided for rental assistance under two bailouts enacted in December 2020 and March 2021, the vast majority has not been distributed, with only an estimated $3 billion of the funds being distributed as of August 3 according to CNBC, while millions are at risk of eviction or foreclosure. According to the Eviction Lab, in the six states and 31 cities tracked by it, 480, 456 evictions have taken place during the pandemic. In just those areas alone, 6,108 evictions were filed in the last week. This is in spite of the announcement on August 3 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of the extension of the eviction moratorium to October 3 for counties “experiencing substantial and high levels of community transmission levels.”
The federal eviction moratorium coincided with Black Women’s Equal Pay Day 2021, which marks the number of days into the year that the average Black woman has to work to catch up to the average white man’s annual earnings in 2020. Based on recent Census data, Black women make just 63 cents for every dollar earned by a white man. If Black women’s earnings continue to grow as slowly as they have since the mid-1980s, it will take them more than 100 years — until 2133 — to reach pay equity with white men. “Lower pay deprives Black women of resources they need to provide for themselves and their families and over a lifetime can really add up — the loss of earnings in D.C. alone adds up to almost $1 million dollars over 20 years,” said Chandra Childers, lead author of a new report on the wage gap from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research.
Max Blumenthal discusses his reporting at the US Capitol on the protests demanding an eviction moratorium, the huge impending economic crisis, the opportunism of the Squad, and how Democratic Party warmongers like Adam Schiff cynically exploited it to do a photo op.
With a new wave of COVID-19 cases rapidly increasing in the US, this victory, while for the moment averting disaster for millions of poor Americans, is ephemeral at best. If we are to truly protect Americans from a tsunami of evictions caused by pandemic-related lockdowns, US President Joe Biden must also cancel the rents. The White House initially waffled on the issue of extending the moratorium, having been told by Associate Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh in a late June ruling that he would oppose any further extension of the ban if done by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), providing a crucial fifth vote to strike down the order. However, with Congress heading into a seven-week summer recess having never attempted to pass such a law, activists and local residents joined Rep. Cori Bush’s (D-MO) occupation-style protest outside the Capitol building to demand the ban be extended past July 31.
In a step that brings relief for millions of low-income families across the United States, the Supreme Court decided against a stay on a federally-imposed eviction moratorium. On Tuesday, June 29, the Supreme Court decided by a split vote (5-4) to deny a request by a group of landlords seeking to impose a federal district court’s ruling to block a residential eviction moratorium put in place by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The justices decided to not allow the stay as the federal judge’s ruling is being appealed by the federal government. In May this year, a group of corporate landlords and realtors’ association secured a judgement to block the Joe Biden administration’s decision to extend the CDC eviction moratorium until July 31.