United States President Donald Trump's administration announced on Tuesday that it plans to implement a four-month moratorium on residential evictions across the country. The plan aims to reduce the spread of coronavirus cases by keeping people off the streets.
Keeping Americans off the streets
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that the moratorium is the latest action by Trump's administration in trying to control the economic effects of the COVID-19 virus.
The moratorium was also a result of the lack of an agreement with Congress on a coronavirus relief package that would assist citizens amid the devastating impacts of the global health crisis.
According to USA Today, health officials are leaning on the 1944 Public Health Service Act to stop evictions, which gives broad quarantine powers to the administration. The planned moratorium is set to last until December 31. It will be implemented on individuals who have an annual salary of less than $99,000 and are unable to provide rent or housing payments.
On Tuesday, White House spokesman Brian Morgenstern told reporters that President Trump is committed to aiding working Americans to keep their homes and stay safe amid the rampant coronavirus pandemic.
However, the announcement garnered both support and criticism from housing experts across the nation. Some praised the plan and said it would help millions of Americans stay off the streets but added that it would only be delaying the deadline as citizens would continue to build up debt that potentially sets them up for eviction next year.
Experts also expressed their concern for landlords who are still required to make their own payments as the plan does not contain a detailed explanation of how it affects them.
Diane Yentel, the president and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition, said that the administration's priority is to ensure that Americans can keep their homes and avoid being forced into the streets.
Yentel added that the eviction moratorium is a half-measure that would cause the immediate falling off of renters after the order expires, and landlords begin charging for back rents, as reported by Politico.
The president of the National Multifamily Housing Council, Doug Bibby, said his organization was disappointed in Trump's latest move of implementing an eviction moratorium without providing funding for rental and unemployment assistance.
Bibby said that the move would only end up hurting the people it was was designed to help by making housing providers, particularly small owners, unable to pay for their financial obligations and continue keeping their doors open to provide housing to their residents.
The president and CEO of the National Apartment Association, Bob Pinnegar, said he and his co-members were worried that the moratorium would result in a lack of finances for rental assistance and creates a risk of a cascade that would result in apartment owners in not being able to pay for their properties, taxes, or mortgages.
On Tuesday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told officials on Capitol Hill that the announcement would leave them "pleased" and acknowledged that it was not an alternative to what Congress could deliver. The White House and Congress members have continuously failed to agree on a new coronavirus relief package as several relief programs reached their expiry date.