Millions of households nationwide could find themselves evicted from their homes soon after New Year’s Day as one of the last safeguards from eviction during the pandemic, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention nationwide eviction moratorium, is set to expire.

In September, the CDC issued an order halting all evictions nationwide. The order was significant, and explicit about the importance of preventing evictions during a pandemic.

Keeping people in their homes can ensure a space for quarantining, enhance their ability to comply with stay-at-home orders and reduce pressure on homeless shelters.

The timing of the order’s expiration couldn’t be worse. New cases and deaths have reached an all-time high as the nationwide death toll surpasses 300,000. If an eviction moratorium is an “effective public health measure,” as the CDC clearly states, the United States needs it now more than ever.

As the pandemic has gotten worse, so has the financial situation of many households. According to one estimate, 12 million renter households will owe an average of $5,000 in rent by the end of the year.

A Census Bureau survey estimates nearly 400,000 adults in Pennsylvania are either behind on rent or mortgages or have no confidence that they’ll be able to make payments in the coming weeks.

(That number is almost 730,000 in Texas, according to the bureau’s Household Pulse Survey — Daily News editors.)

Black and Hispanic families with children, particularly those headed by a single woman, are at the highest risk of eviction.

It’s not that tenants aren’t trying to pay. The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia found a 70 percent increase in the number of people paying rent on a credit card — setting the stage for a future crisis in personal debt.

As the first Americans get the coronavirus vaccine, the end to this pandemic may be in sight. The question is how many people will survive the winter to get the vaccine. A critical part of the final push is maintaining people in their homes.

The CDC must extend the order halting evictions — and Congress needs to step up and provide critical financial relief to tenants, landlords and homeowners. An eviction avalanche leading to a surge in coronavirus and homelessness starting on New Year’s Day is no way to set 2021 as a year of recovery.

• The Inquirer’s Editorial Board

Recommended for you

(17) comments

Gary Scoggin

There are two sides to this coin. While I sympathize with those in danger of being convicted, I also sympathize with landlords who must make mortgage, taxes and insurance payments in the meantime. Those tenants that can pay their rent should pay their rent or at least pay what they can.

Bailey Jones

I agree, Gary. That's why I support cash payments to help people pay their rent / mortgage. This is about to be a catastrophe - and it's completely avoidable. Open our treasury and take care of our people.

Carlos Ponce

Open your pocketbook or purse and help these people, Bailey. It would be more effective without the legal red tape and the bureaucracy. Of every dollar from the "treasury" how many cents would actually help pay the rent?

Charles Douglas

Everything else is going to be free! Why should these people have to pay rent then? [wink].

Bailey Jones

Why do you think I pay taxes, Carlos, to provide $M salaries to government contractors? These people being evicted - they also pay taxes. Or at least they used to before the pandemic put them out of work.

What is the purpose of a government of the people, by the people, and for the people, if not to come to the aid of the people in their hour of greatest need?

Carlos Ponce

So I interpret Bailey's comment as, " I already help the poor through my taxes so why should I give?" - Typical Liberal ideology.

Carlos Ponce

Bailey, give a worthy individual $20 and $20 goes to pay the rent. Pay through taxes and of the $20 in taxes you paid, less than $1 goes to pay that person's rent.

Bailey Jones

"Pay through taxes and of the $20 in taxes you paid, less than $1 goes to pay that person's rent."

That's a pretty amazing claim, Carlos. I wonder why you believe it? Do you really believe that it costs the IRS (where CARES money comes from) $20,000 to send you a $1000 rent assistance check? $20,000 for each $1000 paycheck that goes to a service member? $20,000 for each $1000 social security check? Did your $1000 tax refund really cost $20,000 to print and mail?

Our government is inefficient at many things - building bombers, for instance - but it's very good at writing checks. The SSA overhead expenditures are 0.6%. (Actually down from 2% 50 years ago.) Even Medicare - which is an extremely complicated payout system requiring individually calculating every single claim has an overhead of just 1.4%. By comparison, another CARES check is simple.

So, to answer your question, for every dollar from the "treasury" how many cents would actually help pay the rent? Between 98.6 and 99.4 cents.

I recognize that your political and religious beliefs don't allow for a government that feeds the poor, heals the sick, clothes the naked, or houses the homeless - even in times of crisis, but mine do. In fact, mine require it. Open up the storehouses and let the people eat.

Ron Shelby

I'd totally agree Gary. Many landlords are about to default on the property's mortgage and lose them as well. If they can't get paying tenants moved in, these properties will end up in foreclosure, on the market, at hugely depressed prices. Its going to be bad. This was poor policy to go on this long. Without rental assistance, even more are going to be harmed by this poorly thought out policy.

Wayne D Holt


Charles Douglas

So all these BLACKS & HISPANICS who voted for Joe 75% are going to go homeless? That was not the promise made! They also told Al Sharpton that they were go to hand out Reparations, every last one of the DEMS swore they would do it! Now these poor people want what was promised, and I don't blame them .....anymore! JOE 80% Need to stand by his Word! We now have an over-flow of poor illegals crowding by the tens of thousands at the Southern Border to crash over the minute Joe 85% takes his oath, because of what he promised! They will be coming from all over the world, and somebody will feed them one way or another! Oh ...but lets kick the Americans already here out on their [censored]. What a country!!! What a nation!!!!

Wayne D Holt

I am about as constitutionalist/conservative as you can imagine, but I am unwilling to see tens of billions of dollars go to Ratheon, Lockheed Martin, Boeing and the plethora of other military/industrial bottom feeders while small businesses and the working class in America are simply wiped out of existence. The financially right thing may be to rein in spending. I am all for that just as soon as the morally right thing of taking care of people who have been tossed overboard with a millstone around their neck is addressed.

We have a habit in this country of demanding fiscal prudence when the little guy has his hand out but going Full Monty philanthropist when it comes to the big fish. Time for a change of direction. Main Street America has subsisted for too long on the crumbs that Wall St, K Street and the rest of the insiders have left behind. They would love us to think the enemy is the small independent landlord who is struggling to pay the bills, too. Meanwhile, Big Pharma, the MIC, the insider-trading Congress and the soulless multi-nationals can be excused from the belt tightening.

Where is the justice?

Lift you eyes unto the hills. You'll see who we join

Bailey Jones


Gary Scoggin

Absolutely, Wayne. Agree completely

Wayne D Holt

**Should read** Where is the justice? Lift you eyes unto the hills. You'll see who we jointly need to confront and who we need to comfort.

A fat thumb is a terrible thing to waste.

Jarvis Buckley

So glad you showed an unbiased local point of view.

Bailey Jones

Here's a nice summary of the relief bill, which includes $25B in rent relief.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.

Thank you for reading!

Please log in, or sign up for a new account and purchase a subscription to read or post comments.