Renters facing eviction when a federal moratorium ends next month could get some longer-term help under a bill unveiled this week by a bipartisan group of senators.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Thursday it will extend through July 31 the nationwide eviction freeze it first issued in September to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The agency said it’s intended to be the final extension.
About 6 million households will be at risk of eviction once the moratorium ends, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) introduced legislation (S. 2182) on Wednesday that would establish a permanent emergency assistance program similar to Covid-19 programs. It also would create a national database to track evictions, give tenants opportunities to correct mistakes in tenant screening reports, and increase social services representatives for tenants and landlords.
A spokesperson for Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), one of the lead cosponsors of the bill, said the measure would demonstrate the eviction moratorium doesn’t need to be extended.
The bill is also backed by Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Chairman Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), whose committee held a hearing Thursday that covered the measure, and Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.).
“As we learned during the pandemic, the lack of a safe, stable home can even mean the difference between life and death,” Brown said in a press release. “The Eviction Crisis Act will give our communities new tools to prevent evictions and support vulnerable households.”
The head of the National Alliance to End Homelessness backed the bill at the hearing. It would “do a lot to help us understand better what goes on around evictions by collecting data, understanding when they occur and therefore how we can prevent them,” President and CEO Nan Roman said.
The executive director of Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio “strongly” endorsed the legislation, especially as the end of the moratorium could lead to a “spike in evictions this summer.”
“Once we’re out of pandemic crisis mode, this legislation will have a lasting impact on the everyday crises facing the lowest income Americans,” Bill Faith said in a press release.
To contact the reporter on this story: Nicole Sadek in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org