Housing in Brief: Eviction Crisis Imminent as Moratorium Ends Nationwide

Plus, Austin’s plans for homeless encampments are at risk, and more. 

homeless man sitting near city hall as police watch the area

Individuals protest against the Austin Police Department officers and other city employees for clearing out homeless encampments around City Hall. (Credit Image © Mario Cantu/CSM via ZUMA Wire) (Cal Sport Media via AP Images)

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Nationwide Eviction Crisis Imminent as Eviction Moratorium Ends

The federal eviction moratorium is set to end on July 31, endangering the approximately 16% of renters, or 10 million Americans, that are still behind on rent, CNBC reports.

For nearly a year, tenants were protected by the CDC’s ordinance banning evictions on public health grounds. A study published this week in The American Journal of Epidemiology found that eviction bans have prevented an estimated 433,700 cases of COVID-19 and 10,700 deaths. But the order expires at the end of July, leading to a feared massive influx of evictions in early August. Researchers from Eviction Lab already found that 451,772 filings for eviction have been made in just six states.

Meanwhile, Congress has allocated $45 billion for rental assistance, but only 6.5% of that fund had actually reached households by the end of June, the Commercial Observer reports. Florida, for instance, has only disbursed $1.5 million of the $871 million given to the state, they add.

Communities of color are likely to be the most affected, as a Harvard study looking at housing affordability prior to the pandemic found that Black and Hispanic renters were twice as likely as white renters to be behind on payments. They were also twice as likely to be at risk of eviction in 2019.

Indiana Opens Housing Complex for People Aging Out of Foster Care

Indianapolis has inaugurated Panda Aspen Grove, a housing complex that will accomodate youth aging out of foster care who are facing homelessness, Wish Tv reports.

The 30-unit complex is fully furnished and also provides bedding and dishes. So far, ten people have already moved in, one of them being Praise Ferguson, who entered the foster care system at 14.

“For them to actually take the time out and build these apartments, and actually put it together. Well, it makes you feel like you’re cared about,” Ferguson told Wish TV.

Tenants will also have access to various social events, economic services and vocational opportunities.

Austin’s City-Backed Homeless Encampments May Be Pre-Empted by the State

Austin’s plan for temporary homeless encampments will likely be hindered by a new state law banning encampments on public property, KUT, Austin’s NPR station, reports.

The state law that makes it illegal for cities to legalize encampments on public land goes into effect on Sept. 1. Due to the approaching deadline, city council members don’t believe they have sufficient time to conduct outreach with neighbors and set up the sites.

Earlier this year, Austin reinstated an ordinance criminalizing camping in public spaces as the city’s homeless population seemed to increase.

The Ending Community Homelessness Coalition (ECHO) calculated Austin’s homeless population at 2,506 in 2020.

Sanctioned encampments would cost between $1.3 to $1.8 million annually. The council will discuss this plan further, though members Paige Ellis and Mayor Pro-Tem Natasha Harper-Madison both believe the city should drop its plans and focus on other options for getting people into housing.

This article is part of Backyard, a newsletter exploring scalable solutions to make housing fairer, more affordable and more environmentally sustainable. Subscribe to our weekly Backyard newsletter.

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Solcyre (Sol) Burga was an Emma Bowen Foundation Fellow with Next City for summer 2021. Burga graduated from Rutgers University with a degree in political science and journalism in May of 2022. As a Newark native and immigrant, she hopes to elevate the voices of underrepresented communities in her work.

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Tags: covid-19homelessnessaustinevictionsindianapolis

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