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Independent Living News & Policy from the National Council on Independent Living

NCIL Statement on the Overturning of the Eviction Moratorium

Late yesterday, the United States Supreme Court issued a decision that the housing eviction moratorium from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) was improper. The housing eviction moratorium was an order from the CDC to the people who lease or sell housing. It ordered them to let people who could not pay their rent or their house payments because of COVID stay in their houses. Eviction is the legal process used to remove people from their housing.

The decision from the Supreme Court means that housing providers can take action to remove people from their housing, even if they have not been able to pay rent because of COVID. As many as 7 million households could lose their housing, as they are currently at least one month behind on payments. Most of the families at risk of losing their housing are households of color, people with disabilities and other marginalized groups.

For disabled and aging people, losing permanent housing is especially hard. For many people, it will mean we have to go into an institution. We will not be able to find housing that is usable if we need accessible features.  Homeless shelters are often not usable if we need accessible toilet or showers, or need to bring someone with us to help us with our daily tasks. And during COVID, leaving private housing to go into any type of group settings, whether it is a homeless shelter, a state hospital, a group home, or a nursing facility, puts many of us at risk of getting sick with COVID.

What can we do? Centers for Independent Living and Statewide Independent Living Councils can help through our core services of systems and individual advocacy. Here are some ways our network can help disabled and aging people respond to this crisis:

Systems Advocacy

It is widely reported that delays at the local and state levels have meant that emergency rental assistance is not getting to the people who need it. Advocates need to work with state and local agencies to make sure they are not making the process overly complicated, and are moving quickly to get these funds to help people.  See this spreadsheet for more information on how your community is using Emergency Rental Assistance funds from the US Department of the Treasury.

If your state or local government have not issued eviction moratoriums at the state or local level, advocate to get those put into place.

Join in the advocacy asking the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to issue an eviction moratorium for renters who live in housing that gets federal assistance, such as public housing, or Section 8 housing.  People living in foreclosed homes backed by a federal mortgage are protected from eviction until Sept 30, 2021 although the loan still can be foreclosed.

Individual Advocacy

Help people who are at risk of losing their housing talk to the landlords or mortgage holders. Ask if they can stay in the housing if they can find a way to pay part of the rent or the back-owed rent. Get any agreements in writing.

Help connect people with emergency rental assistance programs. Advocates can look for local programs at this website from the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

Help people reach out to their members of Congress. The member of Congress may be able to help connect the person to resources. More importantly, the member of Congress will hear about the real issues facing the people at home in their districts.