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More on the Eviction Crisis, Bad Ideas in Congress, Assessing the Blame

New York State has spent $0 of its allotment of Federal funds to halt evictions.
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Confidence in Ability to Pay Rent 2021-07-28

Eviction Moratorium Expired

The eviction moratorium expired August 1. The above chart using Census Data shows the number of renters at high risk of eviction. 

Congress is on a 7-week vacation.

Nancy Pelosi, President Biden, AOC, the misnamed "Problem Solver Caucus" and other seriously misguided individuals call on Congress to return in order to pass another moratorium. 

That is precisely the wrong thing to do and more data explains why. 

Renters Face Rising Covid Cases and Lack of Aid

The Washington Post reports Renters Face Rising Covid Cases and Lack of Aid

Moody’s data shows there are still well over 6 million renters behind on payments. [It's far higher as discussed below].

All together, Congress appropriated $46 billion toward emergency rental aid. Only a fraction has been spent.

“There was a real desire to go back and kick the tires and say, are we absolutely sure we can’t extend? Everybody wanted to as a policy matter,” said Gene Sperling, who is overseeing White House stimulus efforts. [kick the tires or kick the can?]

Congressional Democrats launched a last-minute effort to extend the ban, but legislative aides had little hope or expectation it would succeed. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) and Democratic leaders had been pushing to garner enough support, but the House adjourned on Friday without passing a bill. Senate Democratic leaders were also vying for an extension but had no path toward passage.

Six months after the aid program was approved by former president Donald Trump in December, just 12 percent of the first $25 billion in funds had reached people in need due to loss of income from the pandemic, according to the Treasury Department. More than three months after President Biden signed a March relief package with another $21.5 billion for the program, even less of that has been spent, a Post investigation found.

Just 36 of more than 400 states, counties and cities reporting data to the Treasury Department were able to spend half of the money allotted them by the end of June. Another 49 hadn’t spent any funds at all.

Some areas opened application portals, only to see them overwhelmed to the point where they had to shut down. Landlords and tenants struggled to provide onerous application requirements. In some cases, renters and landlords didn’t even know about the funding, or were limited by a lack of Internet access.

Fat Zero for New York

The WSJ commenting on the WaPo report added "Some 49—including New York state and major metropolitan areas—had not spent anything. Although stimulus checks have helped reduce the rental backlog, a recent Census Bureau survey found 7.4 million tenants in arrears for a total that Moody’s puts at $27 billion."

Extend the Moratorium? Why?

The moratorium is a proven failure. It screwed landlords, many of whom struggle to pay their bills.

And the allocated money went nowhere because of inaction by the states. 

Start at the Beginning

We need go back and start at the beginning.

Eviction moratoriums are just plain wrong without compensation to the owners. 

How would you like it if you rented out a 2-flat and the government came along and told your tenants they did not have to pay rent?

Then you seek to evict but Biden extends the eviction moratorium followed by the CDC three more times. Total it up and you have not been paid rent for 15 months but your bills are due.

This is flat out unconstitutional confiscation of property.

Trump was wrong to declare an unpaid moratorium, Biden was wrong to extend it, the CDC was wrong to extend it three times, and Pelosi remains clueless about what the Supreme Court ruled. 

Moratoriums Extended

  • At least four states – Massachusetts, Nevada, New York and Oregon – are temporarily banning evictions against those with a pending rental assistance application.
  • New York has extended its eviction moratorium until September for tenants who’ve endured a Covid-related setback or for whom moving could pose a health risk. To qualify, renters must submit a hardship form to their landlord.
  • Renters in New Jersey can’t be kicked out of their homes until January.

The above points from CNBC

States had many months to develop a program. New York did not even try.

Extend the moratorium and there is no impetus for states to do anything but delay.

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What Needs to Happen

The Supreme Court needs to kill the moratoriums totally unless and until Congress guarantees back pay, preferably with interest, to any landlord unable to evict. 

Unfortunately, it appears nothing will be done correctly until people hit the streets. 

Blame Pelosi, Biden, States

Pelosi and Biden want to shift the blame on Republicans. But it is states' inaction led by a big fat zero in New York that is the problem. 

Calling Congress back in session is a losing idea. No Republicans would vote for it, nor should they. 

How Many Are Behind in Rent? 

Rent Payment Status 2021-07-28

The Census department says 7.4 million people are not current on rent. The lead chart shows 12.7 million people fear eviction.

Those numbers are hugely understated because there were 72.2 million who did not report to tenure and only 50.9 million who did.

I had a phone conversation with the Census Department and they agreed the numbers are too low.

Evictions Start With Nancy Pelosi and the House on a 7-Week Break

For discussion of the numbers, an analysis of households impacted, and comments from the Census department, please see Evictions Start With Nancy Pelosi and the House on a 7-Week Break

Meanwhile, let's return to the politics at hand.

Pelosi Does Not Have the Votes

With only a handful of House votes to spare, I am confident a moratorium would not clear the House. Blue Dog Democrats would kill it.

If Pelosi thought she had the votes for a moratorium, she would call the House back.

Hint: She doesn't.

Pelosi would rather hide out on a 7-week vacation than to have the world see she does not have the votes.

However, Pelosi would have had the votes for aid to states for faster and better procedures to pay landlords thus keeping renters in their homes. 

But that would get in the way of her political priorities. Pelosi would rather have evictions to blame on Republicans than to address the problem properly.

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