The most fundamental question is whether there is still a need for an eviction moratorium from a public health perspective and little can be argued about that. The vaccination effort continues. There is no question that homelessness is spreading COVID-19 by forcing families into shelters or on the streets, and it is absolutely certain that an expiry of the moratorium will lead to an increase in new COVID-19 cases. That the emergency renter’s aid, valued at over 45 billion US dollars, has not been fully distributed in recent months to the tenants and landlords it is supposed to help.
In the midst of it all, a wave of lawsuits from landlords and interest groups claim that the government has no power to impose a moratorium, and given widespread confusion among tenants about their rights, many landlords and jurisdictions largely ignore the moratorium rules on evictions anyway. The rule should never be a mess as, like shop closings and other security measures, it employs emergency forces to get into the economy and forcibly seize some of the biggest gears – but that is exactly an “emergency”. Sure. We are in a time of war, one with half a million casualties and an enemy already trapped in every corner of the country.
If scientists found out that every virus wears a tiny shirt promoting red communism, there would be few in the public eye and none in the pandemic who dared to demand that this new war be meekly waged. Anyone who refuses to get a vaccine is likely to be dragged into public clinics and yelled at by angry singing neighbors, and Do Your Part posters with uncomfortably nationalistic overtones would feature stocky arms and suit-sleeved hands holding an overdue bill in half tear apart instead of conspiring with her our little enemy.
Around 20% of all American tenants are currently in arrears, with black Americans again bearing the brunt of this crisis. This is about mass homelessness, subsequent mass poverty, a new wave of infections and an expansion of the pandemic as a whole. This last part is more worrying than it sounds; As the number of variants increases, we are now in a race between vaccinations and new outbreaks that can evade those vaccinations. We … don’t want that. Homelessness increased even before the pandemic and threatens to turn into a major health crisis immediately afterwards.
If there is anything positive here, the pandemic crisis shows us again that American poverty and homelessness was largely a political choice on our part. We did it to ourselves. This is “positive” only in the sense that it can therefore be reversed, and in the urgency of the present emergency we have been able to take straightforward steps to lift some Americans out of poverty who have long, long been blocked by our own national cruelty and stubbornness. It has been shown again that programs for housing homeless families – not to provide them with nebulous “help” but actually protection in the form of a hotel room or the like – improve both health and safety inexpensively and provide a safe stand, the one better employment enables consequences.
The best cure for homelessness is literally the provision of housing. It’s simple, it saves money for the government in the long run, makes the communities safer, and is literally better for everyone except the part of America that exists only to annoy the rest. It will also help fight future pandemics.
Of course, this is not a new discovery. Far from it. America has invested in public housing before, but has ditched it in recent decades in favor of pseudo-religious trickle-down notions that instead assume that the formation of a new gold-plated class of overconsumed consumers would require enough care and nourishment to feed the rest of the world Allow America to live comfortably as their butler. We have ditched mental health programs, housing programs, actual housing units, and much of the rest of the infrastructure that American prosperity was built on to avoid doing these things, handing the money over to the rich, and asking for their benevolent support. Didn’t work.
The eviction moratorium is intended to help both tenants and landlords in connection with the support of the tenant. Eviction does not result in landlords gaining the rent retrospectively, and mass homelessness after an economic collapse is of no use to landlords themselves, except in the fringe cases where property owners try to evacuate to allow for a more expensive redevelopment – something that is not in Question comes fashion, with commercial real estate markets currently in a death spiral. We’re not giving tenants $ 45 billion. We’re giving landlords $ 45 billion in return for working together during a public health crisis.
That is still not nearly enough to solve the crisis that will kick in the moment the moratoriums end and tenants face overdue bills for many months of rent at once and without further assistance. We are only delaying mass homelessness and hope that vaccination will create such an economic miracle that workers suddenly and inexplicably become cashless. Obviously this is a pipe dream and we should better discuss what the bridge will be between an eviction moratorium and a full return to the “free” market. It won’t build itself.