Jul 30, 2021 - Politics

Expiring eviction moratorium puts 30K Iowans at risk

Illustration of a crumpled-up eviction notice in a trash can.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

A federal moratorium on evictions expires Saturday.

Why it matters: Millions of people across the country are facing the threat of being forced out of their homes.

  • That includes more than 30K Iowans at risk of eviction in the next two months, according to the most recent housing pulse survey from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Driving the news: President Biden Thursday called on Congress to extend the moratorium imposed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, citing the threat of the Delta variant, Axios' Kierra Frazier reports.

  • It's worked as a "critical backstop" during the pandemic, helping hundreds of thousands of people avoid eviction, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement.

Catch up fast: The moratorium, which started in September of 2020, generally prevented landlords from evicting people for nonpayment of rent, if they met eligibility and submitted a declaration saying so.

  • It's been extended multiple times, and the U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled it can't be extended beyond July 31 without congressional approval.

Yes, but: States have struggled to distribute the $47 billion allocated to help people pay rent.

Of note: Allocations separately distributed through Polk County and Des Moines governments are being used.

  • December's allocation of around $14 million has been distributed, said Anne Bacon, director of housing assistance nonprofit IMPACT.
  • A distribution in March, of $11 million, is being allocated now and can be spent through September of 2025.

What's next: You won't see mass evictions at the stroke of midnight if Congress doesn't act by Saturday, Bacon said.

  • But evictions will pick up over the course of the next month or so, she predicted.

Resources: Iowa Legal Aid, 1-800-532-1275; IMPACT, 515-518-4770.


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