Housing has increasingly become one of the most unequal parts of the economic recovery.
The looming eviction crisis has added urgency — in Washington and across the country — to ensuring emergency rental aid reaches the most vulnerable Americans before it is too late.
The Biden administration, housing advocates, renters and landlords alike are focused on July 31, when the final eviction moratorium from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will expire. Racing against the deadline, the White House is pushing state and local governments and courts to do all they can to prevent evictions. On Wednesday, the White House convened a meeting of representatives from 50 cities to discuss their plans for staving off an eviction crisis.
Yet some housing experts are concerned that the latest sprint may be coming too late. Congress has allocated tens of billions of dollars for emergency rental aid. But much of that money hasn’t reached the people who need it most. Local governments have struggled to prop up programs to quickly get the money out.
Now, the White House is rushing to organize courts, states and localities, legal-aid organizations and housing groups to help keep families in homes, because at this point the White House’s toolbox for tenants is pretty limited.
“It’s fundamentally the responsibility of state and local governments to get relief in the hands of renters and landlords,” Susan Rice, director of the White House’s Domestic Policy Council, said at Wednesday’s meeting.