- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 21, 2021

The Biden administration wants states to speed up getting federal dollars to millions of renters as the country braces for fallout when a pandemic-related eviction moratorium ends in less than two weeks.

During an eviction prevention webinar on Wednesday, federal officials urged local leaders to use the more than $46 billion dollars in rent relief approved by Congress in recent months.

“We have to do everything we can to prevent heartbreak for families and economic distress for landlords,” said Gene Sperling, a senior adviser to the president.

Wednesday’s two-hour virtual session included federal, state and local housing officials, as well as legal and academic authorities who provided updates on eviction prevention efforts. While many homeowners have seen the value of their property soar as the economy recovers, many financially struggling renters could be facing higher costs as the COVID policies fade.

A recent analysis by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities found that at least 16% of renters in America, or more than 11 million people, are behind on rent payments.

From going door-to-door to hosting Facebook live workshops, the housing stakeholders discussed the different ways they have been providing resources to renters.

The meeting was part of the Biden administration’s attempt to prevent a flood of evictions. It comes after the White House hosted a virtual eviction prevention summit on June 30.

Other preventative efforts include accelerating emergency rental assistance, ensuring eviction notice requirements are followed and facilitating better communication among renters, landlords and officials.

The moratorium was first issued in December under former President Trump. It prevents landlords from evicting tenants while the order is enforced, so landlords are unable to remove a renter who is unable to pay. The government continually renewed the ban until the Supreme Court ruled last month that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would need congressional authority to extend it again.

• Emily Zantow can be reached at ezantow@washingtontimes.com.

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