Mary Robinson could lose her apartment if she can’t come up with a pile of money, but her unemployment benefits shrank from nearly $900 to $247 last week.
The 39-year-old mother of two in Rochester, New York, could face eviction as the economy sputters and Congress dithers over whether to pass another coronavirus relief bill.
“People that are working and trying to maintain get the shit end of the stick,” she said.
There are 30 million to 40 million people in the United States at risk of being evicted by the end of the year, according to a report released Friday by the National Low Income Housing Coalition. Unless Congress acts to reimpose a moratorium on certain evictions, extend unemployment benefits or offer some other relief, these people could be forced out of their homes in the middle of an economic downturn and a pandemic.
“The urgency of the situation really can’t be overstated,” Diane Yentel, president and CEO of the NLIHC, told HuffPost. “It’s keeping people very confused and anxious about what’s next.”
More than a third of renters said at the end of July that they had little confidence they’d be able to make their August rent, according to a nationwide survey by the U.S. Census Bureau. Millions of Americans have returned to work since state and local governments imposed coronavirus lockdowns in March, but the pace of job growth has slowed ― just as federal stimulus policies are expiring.
Renters with children, like Robinson, are likely to be hit hardest. There are 14 million renters across the U.S. with children, and research shows that they are more likely to receive an eviction judgment. All renters also face disparities within the legal system; fewer than 10% of renters have access to legal counsel compared with 90% of landlords, making it that much harder to fight an eviction judgment.
Experts have pointed out that this unprecedented public health crisis hit amid a preexisting crisis that has already...