- The Department of Housing and Urban Development has halted all evictions and foreclosures until May 1 amid the coronavirus pandemic, President Donald Trump said Wednesday.
- The order only applies to HUD-owned properties. There are roughly 6.7 million residents in HUD housing.
- Housing advocates and attorneys across the country are demanding a nationwide moratorium on evictions and foreclosures.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
On Wednesday, President Donald Trump announced a new measure to protect tenants and homeowners, suspending all eviction and foreclosure action for properties owned by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The suspension will end May 1, Trump said at a press conference, providing “immediate relief to renters and homeowners.”
Around 6.7 million people lived in HUD-provided housing, according to government data from 2016, the most recent year with data available. And the surge in layoffs as businesses shutter amid the coronavirus pandemic means that many may struggle to pay their rent.
“Today’s actions will allow households who have an FHA-insured mortgage to meet the challenges of COVID-19 without fear of losing their homes, and help steady market concerns,” HUD Secretary Ben Carson said in a statement.
The new federal measure does not apply to the more than 80 million renters across the nation – though housing advocates and attorneys across the country are demanding a nationwide moratorium on evictions and foreclosures.
Leah Simon-Weisberg, the legal director for anti-displacement and land use programs at the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment, said the measure would help stem the novel coronavirus outbreak by making sure people weren’t left homeless or forced to go to court while sick.
But it’s difficult to understand the measure’s full impact. It’s not clear how many renters living in HUD-owned properties are at risk for eviction. Around 3.6 million people are evicted in the entirety of the United States every year.
“In the best-case scenario, we are only talking about the HUD properties that are owned by entities overseen by HUD,” she said. “This would be [Federal Housing Administration]-foreclosed properties and ones that are owned by local housing authorities.”
Some local authorities are also taking steps to ensure people are not kicked out of their homes
San Antonio, Texas, also indefinitely halted such action. In nearby Austin, evictions are on hold until at least April 1.
Other locales temporarily ceased evictions, including Newark, New Jersey; Charleston, South Carolina; Detroit, Michigan; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and Cleveland, Ohio.
Cities in California, including Los Angeles, San Jose, San Francisco, and San Diego, have followed suit. Golden State Gov. Gavin Newsom recently issued an executive order Monday giving localities the authority to take similar action.
“People shouldn’t lose or be forced out of their home because of the spread of COVID-19,” Newsom said in a statement. “Over the next few weeks, everyone will have to make sacrifices – but a place to live shouldn’t be one of them. I strongly encourage cities and counties take up this authority to protect Californians.”
Without protections for tenants and homeowners, said Simon-Weisberg, the threat of eviction or foreclosure is “incredibly dire.”
“Literally right now there are people being thrown in the street,” she said. “Governors need to call for a complete moratorium on all evictions, close all eviction courts and have all sheriffs refrain from executing evictions during the state of emergencies.”
- Read more:
- NYU is removing thousands of students from dorms and says it wants to be ‘in a position to help’ if there’s a hospital bed shortage
- New York expands eviction suspension statewide as coronavirus cases surpass 700
- Evictions have become devastatingly common in America – a new book explores why
- The San Francisco housing crisis has gotten so bad that these landlords are evicting an 87-year-old Holocaust survivor so they can make more money
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.