Almost 40 Million Renters Could Lose Their Homes If Congress Doesn't Act Quick

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Millions of renters owe an estimated $70 billion in back rent and if an eviction moratorium is not extended, then 30 to 40 million Americans could be at risk of losing their homes

Millions of renters owe an estimated $70 billion in back rent and, if an eviction moratorium is not extended, 30 to 40 million Americans could be at risk of losing their homes as early as January if Congress doesn't act quickly, according to CBS News. The Center for Disease Control issued a moratorium as a public health measure in September, but it is set to expire as the new year rolls in.

Another caveat in the moratorium, which protects renters if they have been unable to pay rent due to COVID-19, is that it does not protect renters from a "payment cliff," which would require home dwellers to pay back their accumulated rent, Inside Edition Digital previously reported

The CDC was able to order the halt on rent payment under the Public Health Service Act, which enacts regulations to stop the spread of infectious diseases.

In Houston, Texas, there have been over 17,000 evictions since the start of the pandemic, and another 300,000 could be added to the list if the federal protection expires, CBS reported. 

Pubic health leaders have come out to discuss the intersectionality of housing and public health, particularly in the time of the pandemic.

In a recent study published by the Social Science Research Network, it was found that over 400,000 additional coronavirus cases and 10,000 death were links to the expirations of various state eviction moratoriums, CBS News wrote.

"I think it's very clear what the consequences will be if Congress does not provide an extended eviction moratorium and substantial rental assistance — and that is a tsunami of evictions," Diane Yentel, the leader of National Low Income Housing Coalition, told the outlet.

Landlords and tenants, alike, are in need of rental assistance, Yentel pointed out ––one of many leaders asking Congress to add $100 billion to extend rental assistance to any number of pandemic relief deals. 

"That's why emergency rental assistance is so essential," Yentel told CBS. "It helps the renters pay the rent and it helps the landlords pay the bills."

CBS News reporter Nancy Cordes addressed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi directly about the situation Thursday and she said that, while an extension is wanted, she could not guarantee one for the country at this point.