There’s been a wild uproar about the eviction moratorium in California coming to an end on June 30. When the pandemic started, housing experts expressed their worry about massive tenant evictions when the state finally lifts protection for renters. Now, as the date nears, more experts and analysts are wondering if the enormous house eviction cliff will still hold a place or if there will be a minor wave.
Recently, California’s State Governor, Gavin Newsom, announced that the state would cover 100% of rent owned by tenants. This breathed a new wave of hope because the news will help mitigate the impact of the pandemic on the economy and jobs. However, the timing of the payment is still questionable, and analysts assume the June 30 eviction moratoria will not be as severe as projected.
But it’s still unclear if all the households will get the relief soon and if the funds will be sufficient to pay back owed rent. There are also several unanswered questions of how long it will take for jobs and wages to be back in full and if tenants took other forms of debt loans through credit cards or payday loans to sustain themselves during the pandemic.
Over 900,000 Households Are At Risk of Eviction in California
According to PolicyLink, approximately 900,000 households are at risk of eviction, with an average of $4,600 in rental arrears because they are behind on rent. The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia further explains that rental debts are even higher nationally, with average total arrears closer to about $8,000.
Although the pandemic played a huge part in the rental debt, affecting the economy and cost of living, families struggle to pay rent because they are also assisting other families in need with food and even physical cash. This is one of the reasons why some families owe rent more than others.
The Census Household Pulse Survey data states that about 15% of renters behind on rent in California will likely be evicted even when the moratorium is lifted.
While examining the 900,000 households at risk of a possible eviction, the vulnerability rate is higher in Blacks, Hispanic, and indigenous families—the reason being that these people were the most affected in the pandemic. In addition, single-parent households with children were also impacted by the crisis, three times more than households without children.
As it is, we don’t know if house eviction will be put on hold, but if the moratorium ends on June 30, the impact of the decision will be severe on many of these households in the long term. First, there will be a housing crisis, and homelessness may reach an all-time high. Food insecurity may also rise, adverse health outcomes will increase, and health care costs will significantly go up.
Housing instability and humanitarian crisis are the least of things the US government wants to address in this post-pandemic era. However, as the country slowly recovers from the pandemic, these households behind on rent must be given more time to cover their rental debts. With sustainable jobs and improved income, they will be able to reduce their rental debts.