When Eric Tuck lost two jobs at separate times in the 1980s, the Greenhill housing co-operative where he lived provided emergency assistance to him and his family. First, Tuck was laid off from National Steel in Hamilton, Ont. Two years later, he was laid off again from Firestone Tire Factory, only six months after he’d taken the job. Tuck was the sole breadwinner back then, raising two young children with his partner. Thrown out of work, he was forced to go on unemployment insurance, which was not enough to supplement his lost wages. But his co-op came through—both times—with a subsidy to reduce his housing charge. The Greenhill co-op was more than just an economic lifesaver.
Minneapolis, Minnesota – With life-threatening cold this winter season, the City of Minneapolis continues to evict encampments, displacing unsheltered people and throwing away their personal belongings, including propane tanks they rely on for warmth. The longstanding Quarry encampment in Northeast Minneapolis is the latest under threat of eviction after being served a notice on Dec. 21 to leave by Dec. 28. In response, Quarry residents and advocates held a press conference on Dec. 27 demanding the authorities not evict the encampment and announcing that community would come to defend the residents. The next day, when the eviction was scheduled to occur, upwards of 100 to 150 encampment defenders showed up to the Quarry over the course of the morning. The city said the eviction was put on hold due to the large activist presence.
Deming, Washington – Despite calls from the United Nations and two United States agencies for an eviction halt at Nooksack, tribal politicians are proceeding to eject nine households from their homes this winter. Nearly thirty Nooksack family members are slated to be ejected from federally subsidized, state regulated homes in northern Washington state this month. One family has already been ordered to vacate their home of 11 years by January 3, 2023. The eviction imbroglio unfolds as the human battle raging at Nooksack reaches its tenth year today. Three other households await tribal court rulings. Having been denied any right to legal counsel by Nooksack authorities, the families are representing themselves pro se.
As the pandemic waned, Vivian Tatabod, a nurse in Prince George’s County, says she noticed many of her neighbors in her apartment building getting evicted. “When people were going through so much,” she says. “Stuff outside, thrown out, families, struggling to find a place.” Rent in her building, Takoma Towers, recently shot up — in Tatabod’s case, by $400 per month. She says she’s paid her rent while working on the front lines, treating elderly COVID-19 patients. Recently, she was contracted to work at DC Prep to help with COVID-19 testing. While working, she was also raising two children on her own. But two months ago, that contract ended and she lost her job. Now, she too is facing eviction.
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.”