BEDS Special Bulletin: The Continuing Eviction Crisis and its Economic Consequences

Today, we'd like to share updates about federal and state eviction moratoria.

Eviction Moratoriums Extended

On June 24, the Biden administration extended the CDC’s eviction moratorium until July 31, and, on June 25, J.B. Pritzker extended Illinois’ moratorium until July 24. As the pandemic continues, these moratoria are preventing a wave of homelessness but pressure smaller landlords to not want to renew leases to their tenants.

Pre-COVID Evictions

In 2016, the last year for which data’s available, there were close to 57,000 eviction cases; 46 percent resulted in evictions. Around 26,500 Illinois households lost their homes. Without eviction moratoria in place, the rate would have skyrocketed. For example, a Loyola University Chicago and the Lawyers’ Committee for Better Housing report estimated that 21,000 evictions could have been filed in Chicagoin January 2021 if the federal moratorium had not been put into place. That outnumbers all Chicago evictions in 2019 and approaches State total in 2016. Even people who were not evicted still have proceedings on their records, which affect their chance of getting and keeping a job and securing new housing.

The Present Crisis

On June 7, the U.S. Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey reported that roughly 3.2 million people would face eviction within the next two months. A September survey by Chicago’s Neighborhood Owners Alliance found that 71 percent of landlords stated their tenants were behind on rent. Three months later, the percentage grew to 79 percent. With tenants unable to pay rent, landlords will not want to renew their leases going forward. Once moratoria have expired, landlords will likely increase requirements for new tenants: higher credit scores, stricter deadlines for bills/rent, and more. Some landlords have also begun illegally evicting tenants; tactics include changing locks, shutting off utilities, shutting off heat/air conditioning, and removing personal belongings.

Possible Solutions

There have been small steps towards reducing potential evictions in Cook County. The Early Resolution Program (part of the new Cook County Legal Aid for Housing and Debt – CCLAHD) will offer free legal assistance, counseling, pre-court mediation, and case management for tenants and landlords facing evictions and property taxes. The State of Illinois is expected to provide 1.1 billion dollars in rent relief payments to tenets and landlords, as well as 400 million dollars to select cities. The Pritzker administration projects that this money could help more than 120,000 people. Individual households can also apply for up to 25,000 dollars that would be paid directly to their landlords. Though financial assistance can alleviate current financial distress, tenants need future income security, so landlords won’t have to miss rent and delay property tax and mortgage payments.

Further reading:

Written by Matt Galletti, the new development intern at BEDS Plus. Matt has lived in La Grange all of his life and has been surrounded by the BEDS Plus family for some time now. His mother (Susan Valentine) started to give her time over to BEDS with his old church, while Matt was growing up. Matt is about to be a senior at The College of Wooster, with a major in political theory and a minor in philosophy.