CDC Orders Sweeping Ban on Evictions Due to Coronavirus as Thousands of Ohio Tenants Face Homelessness

CDC Orders Sweeping Ban on Evictions Due to Coronavirus as Thousands of Ohio Tenants Face Homelessness
Tenants who have lost income due to the coronavirus pandemic are protected from eviction for the rest of the year under an order issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Under the CDC order, tenants making less than $99,000 a year – or couples earning under $198,000 a year – would be protected from evictions if they’ve lost income from the pandemic, are in danger of becoming homeless, and have sought government assistance to make rental payments.

The order is intended to help stop the spread of the coronavirus by avoiding evicted tenants from entering shelters and other crowded living conditions.

"This is a good step; it's a positive step," Ted Phillips, executive director with United Community Housing Coalition, told The Associated Press. "But there certainly needs to be a whole lot more (financial aid) because we are still going to have problems in January."

Eligible tenants are still on the hook for rent and could be evicted if they aren't caught up on by Jan. 1.

The order comes after Cleveland’s ban on evictions had expired in June, when it began hearing new eviction cases. Other moratoriums across the state of Ohio, which didn't issue statewide ban but instead left the matter up to municipalities, have expired in recent months. Rental assistance has been available through certain cities and counties, but not at levels that advocacy groups believe will stem the tide.

“If a statewide rental assistance program is not operating soon, thousands of Ohio families will find themselves facing eviction and homelessness. Some will be forced into unsafe shelters and other group environments which will put their health at risk as well as potentially contribute to large outbreaks in those communities,” Ohio Poverty Law Center attorney Graham Bowman wrote in a letter to Gov. Mike DeWine in July.

Congress has debated a second round of stimulus checks and various proposals have floated around to target the needs of renters and landlords, including a plan pushed by Sen. Sherrod Brown that would deliver $100 billion in federal rental assistance, but neither have made much progress.

About 1.5 million Ohioans live in rented homes, and the COVID-19 Eviction Defense Project estimates 800,000 of them could be at risk for eviction this month. Thirty-percent of renters nationwide didn't pay full rent in May, and the U.S. Census Bureau reported 36 percent of Ohio renters weren't sure about making rent this summer.
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