Judges Can Help Stop The Eviction Crisis

Judges Can Help Stop The Eviction Crisis

The Point:

As many as 40 million people in America are at risk of losing their homes. Judges can play a critical role in stopping the ongoing eviction crisis. 

Judges have the power to keep people in their homes: 

Evictions are a public health emergency:

  • Efforts to halt or slow evictions through use of moratoriums during the pandemic have been a patchwork across localities; states; and, belatedly, the federal government. Even the federal moratorium issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been criticized for its limits, the lack of enforcement, and the bureaucratic process needed to seek its protections.
  • People who do lose their homes are more likely to contract COVID-19. This is so, professors Emily Benfer, Gregg Gonsalves, and Danya Keene wrote, because “eviction results in transiency, homelessness, and crowded residential environments that increase both the frequency and proximity of contact with others and make it impossible to comply with pandemic mitigation strategies.” 
  • Pandemic evictions have been linked to more than 10,000 COVID-19 deaths and 500,000 cases. A new study suggests that “if a national moratorium on evictions and utility cutoffs had been implemented at the beginning of the pandemic, the rate of death would have dropped nearly 56 percent compared to if no policies were ever implemented.”

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