The Journal Gazette
 
 
Thursday, May 06, 2021 1:00 am

Eviction moratorium struck down

Associated Press

BOSTON – A federal judge ruled Wednesday that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention exceeded its authority when it imposed a federal eviction moratorium.

The Justice Department said it would appeal the ruling from the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., meaning there won't likely be any immediate impact on the ban, which in March was extended through the end of June.

Opponents of the moratorium, including the National Association of Realtors, welcomed the decision and said the solution was rental assistance, not a ban on evictions.

“This prevents two crises – one for tenants, and one for mom-and-pop housing providers who do not have a reprieve from their bills,” the president of the realtors association, Charlie Oppler, said in a statement. “With rental assistance secured, the economy strengthening, and unemployment rates falling, there is no need to continue a blanket, nationwide eviction ban.”

The Alabama and Georgia associations of realtors were among the plaintiffs in the case.

The eviction ban, initially put in place last year, provides protection for renters out of concern that having families lose their homes and move into shelters or share crowded conditions with relatives or friends during the pandemic would further spread the highly contagious virus.

Proponents of the ban argue it is necessary since the pandemic is still a threat and so many people are at risk of eviction or foreclosure. Nearly 4 million people in the U.S. said they faced eviction or foreclosure in the next two months, according to the Census Bureau's Household Pulse Survey.

The eviction moratorium “protects many renters who cannot make their monthly payments due to job loss or health care expenses,” Brian Boynton, acting assistant attorney general for the Justice Department's Civil Division, said in a statement announcing the department's decision to appeal the court ruling.

“Scientific evidence shows that evictions exacerbate the spread of COVID-19, which has already killed more than half a million Americans, and the harm to the public that would result from unchecked evictions cannot be undone,” he added.

Congress has allocated more than $45 billion in rental assistance, but much of that hasn't reached needy tenants.

Eric Dunn, the director of litigation for the National Housing Law Project, said most of the rent relief programs only started in late March and early April. “It feels like the pandemic, at least in the U.S., is coming to an end but it's not over yet. If we have a wave of mass evictions, it could really set us back.”

Also

Small business relief program runs dry

NEW YORK – The government's key COVID-19 relief program for small businesses has run out of money.

The Small Business Administration said Wednesday that the Paycheck Protection Program has been exhausted. As of Sunday, the PPP had given out nearly 10.8 million loans worth more than $780 billion since April of last year.

The program, which has run out of cash and been refunded by Congress twice before, was scheduled to expire May 31. It's not yet known if lawmakers will approve more funding.


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