The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced a new federal eviction moratorium until at least Oct. 3.
Landlords are prohibited from evicting residents in parts of the United States where “substantial and high levels” of Chinese Communist Party (CCP) virus infections have been reported for 60 days. The safety net is expected to cover about 90 percent of tenants across the nation.
The previous ban on forcing tenants to leave their homes for not paying rent due to the pandemic expired on July 31.
The latest announcement represents a major U-turn for the Joe Biden administration, which let the earlier moratorium lapse.
Progressives had pressured President Biden to extend the eviction moratorium because it would prevent nearly 3.6 million Americans from becoming homeless during CCP virus crisis.
However, the administration blamed a Supreme Court order that barred prolonging evictions.
“Any call for [a] moratorium based on the Supreme Court’s recent decision is likely to face obstacles,” he said in a statement. “I have indicated to the CDC, I would like them to look at other alternatives [other] than the one that is in existence, which the court has declared they are not going to allow to continue.”
CDC justified the new moratorium accusing state and local governments of taking too long to distribute $45 billion in housing aid. By the end of June, only about $3 billion, or about 6.6 percent of the money reached struggling residents.
“This moratorium is the right thing to do to keep people in their homes and out of congregate settings where COVID-19 spreads,” CDC director Rochelle Walensky said in a statement. “It is imperative that public health authorities act quickly to mitigate such an increase of evictions, which could increase the likelihood of new spikes in SARS-CoV-2 transmission.”
The agency concluded the moratorium is essential in curbing the highly contagious Delta variant.
“Where we are right now with such high disease rates, we felt a new, tailored order [was needed] to make sure that … working Americans who were at risk of eviction could be stably housed during this really tenuous, challenging period of time,” she said according to the National Public Radio.
It is uncertain how the Supreme Court will react to the new moratorium. States and other jurisdictions now have more time to disperse rental aid that U.S. Congress had allocated.