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The nationwide halt on most evictions is a Band-Aid for millions of renters who are at risk of losing their homes, Matthew Desmond, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author and professor who leads Princeton University's Eviction Lab, said in an interview with "Axios on HBO."

Why it matters: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's order halting evictions expires on Dec. 31 — throwing more uncertainty into the lives of renters who could still owe months' worth of rent without any improvement in their hopes of finding a job.

What he's saying: "[F]rom a tenant's point of view, this eviction moratorium is a giant reprieve. But it doesn't solve their problem, which is, 'What am I going to do when my bill comes due?'" Desmond said.

  • States and cities are setting up their own rental assistance funds to help residents pay rent — but the money hasn't been enough to keep up with demand. In Houston, $15 million worth of rental aid dried up in just two hours.
  • "It's like we have a problem and that problem has stage four cancer. And then we give it two aspirin and we wonder why it doesn't work," said Desmond, who believes a new stimulus package from Washington is necessary to shore up landlords and tenants.

Between the lines: "If the economy is still in the place it is right now, if the virus is still rampaging the country, then we're going to be in deep trouble" if the CDC order isn't extended beyond the end of the year, Desmond said.

The other side: "There could be a case where the moratorium gives tenants enough time to get back on their feet and it gives landlords an incentive to work with those tenants," Desmond said.

  • But evictions could spike in the new year if the economy doesn't pick up and tenants are still thousands of dollars behind in rent.

The big picture: Both the pandemic and its economic effects have hit Black people and Latinos, who are much more likely to rent than other racial groups, particularly hard.

  • "Most white families in America are homeowners. And they're kind of shielded from the eviction crisis. So this has a giant racial dimension and it has a giant poverty dimension," Desmond says.

The state of play: The CDC's action comes as a patchwork of eviction moratoria put in place by state and local governments were beginning to expire (or had already expired) across the country.

  • The gap between the Trump administration's order and states' individual actions left renters vulnerable to eviction — even as medical experts warned that people are safest from the virus in their homes.
  • When statewide protections expired, places like Milwaukee saw spikes in eviction filings higher than the city's historical average, according to Eviction Lab's database.

Of note: Eviction court was "business as usual" in parts of the country at the height of the coronavirus outbreak, with some states moving eviction hearings "to Zoom or the telephone," Desmond said.

The bottom line: Housing experts and activists are still bracing for the "tsunami of evictions" they anticipated before the CDC's order. For now, it looks like it has just been put off a little longer.

Go deeper: Fears grow of an eviction apocalypse

Go deeper

Updated Oct 20, 2020 - Axios Events

Watch: A conversation on America's voting barriers

On Tuesday, October 23, Axios' Sara Kehaulani Goo, Margaret Talev, and Alexi McCammond hosted a virtual event on barriers to voting access across the country, featuring Southwest Voter Registration Education Project President Lydia Camarillo, U.S. Election Assistance Commission Chairman Benjamin Hovland, Florida Rights Restoration Coalition President Desmond Meade and "The West Wing" actors Janel Moloney and Richard Schiff.

Benjamin Hovland unpacked how to vote safely during this unprecedented year and highlighted the uptick in mail-in ballots and early voting.

  • On a notable increase in early ballots being cast: "We're seeing a surge in early in-person voting...We're already at around 30 million Americans that have already voted in the 2020 election, which is pretty remarkable."
  • On the impact of the pandemic on mail-in ballots: "About 25% of Americans vote by mail in a normal year, or in 2016. So we're going to see an increase probably closer to half."

Lydia Camarillo discussed the importance of the Latino electorate in American elections.

  • The impact on November's election: "I think that the Latino electorate can be the deciding factor in this election — in partnership with other groups like the Black community, the Muslim community, Asian American community and progressives. They will decide the election."

Desmond Meade, who helped lead the 2018 fight for Amendment 4 in Florida, unpacked the expansion of voting rights and Florida's impact on similar state-level policy changes across the country.

  • On restoring felon rights: "This thing has caught on like a wildfire. All across this country, people are really standing up. Because America is a nation of second chances. And it's showing up right now in a major way."

Janel Moloney and Richard Schiff discussed the recent "The West Wing" episode on HBO Max and the experience of reuniting as an ensemble cast.

  • Richard Schiff on the meaning of the episode: "It's a rare thing in this day and age around the world to have the privilege to vote and the right to vote. And we should be very careful to not let it be extinguished and that this episode addresses that."

Axios Vice President of Event Kristin Burkhalter hosted a View from the Top segment with Lyft Head of Policy Engagement and Strategic Partnerships Heather Foster who discussed how transportation plays a critical role in voting access.

  • "We took a look at the statistics that came out of 2016, and it was estimated at the time that more than 15 million eligible voters did not go to the polls because they lacked a way to get there."

This event was the first in a yearlong series called Hard Truths, where we'll be discussing the wide ranging impact of systemic racism in America. Read our deep dive on race and voting here.

Thank you Lyft for sponsoring this event.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
Updated 3 hours ago - Economy & Business

Our make-believe economy is here to stay

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The Federal Reserve and global central banks are remaking the world's economy in an effort to save it, but have created something of a monster.

Why it matters: The Fed-driven economy relies on the creation of trillions of dollars — literally out of thin air — that are used to purchase bonds and push money into a pandemic-ravaged economy that has long been dependent on free cash and is only growing more addicted.

Mike Allen, author of AM
4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Why Trump may still fire Barr

Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Attorney General Barr may be fired or resign, as President Trump seethes about Barr's statement this week that no widespread voter fraud has been found.

Behind the scenes: A source familiar with the president's thinking tells Axios that Trump remains frustrated with what he sees as the lack of a vigorous investigation into his election conspiracy theories.

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