Anguish as Eviction Moratorium Expires: ‘I Have No Idea Where I’ll Go’

Bloomberg Quicktake: Now published this video item, entitled “Anguish as Eviction Moratorium Expires: ‘I Have No Idea Where I’ll Go'” – below is their description.

A federal eviction moratorium is ending, possibly forcing millions of people from their homes, causing a spike in homelessness and devastating low-income communities of color that have already been hardest hit by the pandemic.

Roxanne Schaefer is in distress as her landlord threatens to throw her out of her second-floor apartment in the Rhode Island town of West Warwick.

Days before the moratorium expired, Schaefer was in the living room of her home of five years, watching her elderly dog sleep on the couch and playing with a kitten.

There are many memories around the room, including a photo of her late son.

She is also surrounded by prized possessions, including a small clothes dryer in one corner of the living room.

But the expiration of the eviction moratorium threatens all that for Schaefer, who fears ending up homeless with her brother and her soon-to-be wife.

The eviction moratorium was put in place by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It expires on Saturday, after President Joe Biden’s administration extended the original date by a month.

The Biden administration announced Thursday it will allow a nationwide ban on evictions to expire Saturday, arguing that its hands are tied after the Supreme Court signaled it would only be extended until the end of the month.

It was the only tool keeping millions of tenants like Schaefer in their homes.

Many of them lost jobs during the coronavirus pandemic and had fallen months behind on their rent.

Schaefer says the moratorium is ending prematurely because the latest wave of COVID-19 infections – fueled by the more potent delta variant – is particularly dangerous for people with underlying medical conditions like herself.

She worries that eviction will leave her homeless and unable to find a place to plug in her electric-powered breathing machines that she uses when she goes to sleep.

Schaefer is on disability and was unable to pay her full rent after her partner lost her job when restaurants were closed during the pandemic.

She says she used her meager disability pay to cover part of her rent.

Schaefer says her landlord has refused to participate in the Rhode Island rental assistance program that would have helped her catch up with her payment obligations.

The state has launched a $200 million program to help with outstanding rents and utility payments, but state lawmakers didn’t approve imposing a state eviction moratorium.

Housing and homelessness groups say ending the federal ban will be devastating.

Eviction hearings are proceeding in the state, but execution of any court order has been put on hold until the federal moratorium ends.

Schaefer says she only found out a couple of weeks ago that a judge has cleared the way for the landlord to evict her once the moratorium ends.

She says she doesn’t have money to pay for upfront charges at a new place.

The eviction will also make it harder to find a rental home because it will put off potential landlords when they review her credit history.

The fact that rents have soared in recent months also make it harder for her to find a home.

Even with the delay, roughly 3.6 million people in the U.S. as of July 5 said they face eviction in the next two months. That’s according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey.

The survey measures the social and economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic every two weeks through online responses from a representative sample of U.S. households.

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