After the recent lapse of a federal supplement to unemployment payments, and with a patchwork of eviction moratoriums either at an end or set to expire soon, 30 million to 40 million tenants risk losing their homes in the coming months, according to a report released Friday by dozens of academic researchers and housing advocates.
Even if the actual number is a fraction of that figure, it would still be several times the current annual rate of eviction filings — about 3.7 million a year. And it could have a cascade of effects that erode affordable housing and weaken an already hobbled housing system long after the coronavirus crisis has subsided, by pushing small landlords into foreclosure and further weakening state and local budgets as property-tax collections fall behind.
Citing a range of public and private data sources, the report noted that a broad swath of renters had until recently been protected by the $600 a month in supplemental unemployment payments, but many are now falling behind. These bills are accruing just as several federal, state and local eviction moratoriums are expiring, and amid a continued surge in the virus in many hot spots, and a darkening outlook for the economy.
“The public costs of eviction are far-reaching,” the report said. “Individuals experiencing displacement due to eviction are more likely to need emergency shelter and rehousing, use inpatient and emergency medical services, require child welfare services, and experience the criminal legal system, among other harms.”