Our congressional leaders are playing with fire this week, perhaps in ways that they haven’t yet fully realized.
In our nation’s Capitol, a stagnant air is lingering. There has been little to no progress on a renewal or revitalization of the new-defunct coronavirus stimulus legislation that expired on Friday, hanging a great many Americans out to dry at a time in which is it unsafe or impossible to get back to work as normal.
Not only has the $600 unemployment bonus disappeared, but the expiration of an eviction moratorium could put literally millions of Americans out on the street…all because Congress has failed to act.
Now, tenants are crowding courtrooms — or appearing virtually — to detail how the pandemic has upended their lives. Some are low-income families who have endured evictions before, but there are also plenty of wealthier families facing homelessness for the first time — and now being forced to navigate overcrowded and sometimes dangerous shelter systems amid the pandemic.
Experts predict the problem will only get worse in the coming weeks, with 30 million unemployed and uncertainty whether Congress will extend the extra $600 in weekly unemployment benefits that expired Friday. The federal eviction moratorium that protects more than 12 million renters living in federally subsidized apartments or units with federally backed mortgages expired July 25. If it’s not extended, landlords can initiate eviction proceedings in 30 days.
“It’s going to be a mess,” said Bill Faith, executive director of Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio, referring to the Census Bureau Household Pulse Survey, whichfound last week that more than 23% of Ohioans questioned said they weren’t able to make last month’s rent or mortgage payment or had little or no confidence they could pay next month’s.
Should our public servants fail to protect us from this devastating economic downturn, there is little doubt that their jobs will no longer be safe. In fact, this is the sort of widespread societal collapse that has toppled entire governments throughout history, and our failed politicians would be foolish to believe that they are somehow protected from a simulate fate.
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