Evictions | A Public Health Crisis
Read more to see how lifting eviction moratoriums can contribute to devastating spikes of COVID-19.
One of the greatest protections against COVID-19 is to stay home, but how do people without homes keep themselves safe? It is undeniable that our country is currently facing a catastrophe. More than 7 million households nationally, including 1.1 million New Yorkers, are at risk of eviction.
Even more alarming, is the evidence that evictions have severe public health consequences.
The Numbers on Evictions
A nationwide study, published by the Journal of Urban Health, shows the correlation between housing stability and public health. They looked at data from 44 states between the months of April and September and found that lifting eviction moratoriums led to increased COVID-19 incidences and mortality rates in the United States. The findings were the following:
- States that supported longer moratoriums (i.e. Kentucky, Pennsylvania) prevented the increased spread of COVID-19 and had lower mortality rates then states that lifted the early.
- States that lifted moratoriums early (i.e. South Carolina and Texas), had 2.1 times higher incidence of COVID-19 and 5.4 times higher mortality rates, amounting to 433,700 excess cases & 10,700 excess COVID-19 related deaths nationwide.
The national moratorium expires on March 31, 2021, and this crisis will become a public health disaster at the expense of tenants and homeowners unable to pay their rent. Fortunately, the New York State Legislature recently passed one of the most comprehensive anti-eviction laws in the nation.
Under this new measure, landlords are barred from evicting most tenants for at least another 60 days. This is great news. However, it does not address the pressing issue of tenants owing landlords back rent once the moratorium ends. The $1.3 billion in rent relief authorized by the federal government in December will help.
Much more needs to be done to address the impending crisis.
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