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Evictions And The Pandemic: Are States Doing Enough To Protect Renters?

A woman wearing a mask walks past a wall bearing a graffiti asking for rent forgiveness on La Brea Ave on National May Day amid the Covid-19 pandemic,  May 1, 2020, in Los Angeles, California. (VALERIE MACON/AFP via Getty Images)
A woman wearing a mask walks past a wall bearing a graffiti asking for rent forgiveness on La Brea Ave on National May Day amid the Covid-19 pandemic, May 1, 2020, in Los Angeles, California. (VALERIE MACON/AFP via Getty Images)

Many states have eviction protections in place now. But what happens to renters when those protections are removed?


Matthew Desmond, principle investigator at the Eviction Lab at Princeton University, the first nationwide eviction database. Professor of sociology at Princeton University. Author of “Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City.” (@just_shelter)

Tiana Caldwell, grassroots leader with KC Tenants, which organizes to ensure that tenants in Kansas City have access to safe and affordable homes. She and her husband have been furloughed from their jobs for over six weeks. Last week, they received an eviction notice from their landlord. (@TianaCaldwell15)

Lisa Owens, executive director of City Life / Vida Urbana, a grassroots tenant organization. (@CityLife_Clvu)

From The Reading List

Philadelphia Inquirer: “Advocates, officials try to prevent Philly’s coming wave of coronavirus evictions” — “As the coronavirus pandemic continues and Philadelphia courts stay closed through at least the end of May, legal evictions of renters in the city are on hold. That includes 1,700 evictions that had been scheduled and thousands more that landlords are waiting to file.”

Texas Tribune: “Texas halted evictions, giving renters some relief. But what happens when the moratorium ends?” — “Shanice Al Khlifat’s day-to-day life has become a series of efforts to hang on. The 28-year-old is trying to find a stable job after losing two since the coronavirus pandemic disrupted the economy: one as a dispatcher at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport and another at a call center.”

Seattle Times: “Seattle to provide eviction protection for 6 months after coronavirus moratorium expires” — “The Seattle City Council voted Monday to provide residential tenants with a defense against rent-related evictions for six months after the coronavirus emergency moratorium in place right now expires.”

The Atlantic: “Cancel Rent” — “Donnette Leftord is facing some impossible math. A mother of three and the owner of a small housekeeping business, Leftord usually earns $408 a week. Her company has been closed during the coronavirus pandemic. The monthly rent on her apartment in Flatbush, Brooklyn, is $1,700. And her family has other expenses to pay too. ‘Medication is important to me. Food is important. Rent is important,’ Leftord said. ‘I just do the math. There is no way I can pay rent.’”

Baltimore Sun: “Eviction prevention efforts in Baltimore lag” — “The line outside the doors of the Bon Secours Community Works center in West Baltimore forms at 8 a.m.”

Washington Post: “Which states are doing a better job protecting renters from being evicted during the coronavirus pandemic” — “For millions of renters who have lost income, rent day on May 1 is a looming disaster.”

NBC News: “‘Survival’: Tenants, landlords brace for largest rent strike in decades” — “Kenia Alcocer is used to sitting down at the kitchen table to crunch her family’s monthly budget and figure out how she can make ends meet.”

Seattle Times: “With May rent looming, some Seattle tenants eye ‘rent strikes’ as coronavirus continues to upend lives” — “Two weeks after the coronavirus closed the Seattle restaurant where Sean Case works as a cook, his rent was due. More than a month later, the 30-year-old is receiving unemployment assistance but still has no job, and rent is about to be due again.”

CityMetric: “Americans are still being evicted during the coronavirus pandemic” — “Four years ago, Matthew Desmond changed the way American policymakers look at eviction.”

KRCG TV: “Protesters demand more protection for renters, homeowners” — “Dozens of protesters gathered Thursday at the Capitol demanding more action from Gov. Mike Parson to provide relief for home mortgage and rent payers during the coronavirus pandemic.”

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

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