Yesterday — on Day 1 — the new Biden administration signed an executive order to extend Trump’s broken federal eviction moratorium. As renters and housing advocates across the country, we are deeply concerned. Millions of renters were already dealing with the weight of the housing crisis before the pandemic hit — surviving the Trump administration and decades of white supremacist and capitalist violence. Our neighborhoods have gone from places where we love, heal, grow, learn, play, rest, and dream to a place where corporations and banks turn a profit, and sheriffs evict our families.
Since it dropped this fall, Right to the City Alliance members nationwide have made it clear: Trump’s federal eviction moratorium was intentionally weak, leaving millions of tenants unprotected. Landlords have been exploiting loopholes to continue to evict. The moratorium is unclear and faulty, and was written with language so vague that some states have essentially ignored it. Hundreds of thousands of eviction filings have taken place under this so-called eviction moratorium — it’s hardly a policy that addresses the economic, housing and health crises we face.
Enough is enough. It is unsatisfactory that President Joe Biden and new CDC Director Rochelle Walensky would choose to extend the same failed policy for only a couple of months without first ensuring health and housing stability by strengthening the moratorium and removing all loopholes including:
Renters are tired of being on the razor’s edge of eviction month-after-month. We need the security of knowing that in this deteriorating economy, we will be taken care of.
Our Housing is the Cure National Day of Action last week illustrated the demands of residents across the country calling for an eviction moratorium with fewer loopholes, no debt accumulation, and adequate housing conditions that will create safer COVID-19 conditions. It’s time for the new Biden administration to make a clear stance on how they plan to address the current eviction crisis — and to address housing rights as the public health issue they are.
Right to the City Alliance members know it is up to us to keep each other safe, it is up to us to protect our communities. We will continue to resist policies that don’t protect us. Evictions and deportations are not solutions, nor should they ever be an option. Housing is our right. We all deserve sustainable and safe housing. And we need housing policies that support our communities to survive — and thrive.
Let us rise to this fight with everything we’ve got because our lives depend on it.