Joe Biden ( Photo by Cameron Smith)
Joe Biden ( Photo by Cameron Smith)

The federal eviction moratorium put in place during the Coronavirus pandemic expired last Saturday after the Biden administration and democratic leaders failed to extend the date. Now, many live in fear of becoming homeless as the Delta variant becomes a rising concern.

According to data from the Census Bureau Survey in early July, more than 7.4 million households are behind on rent and some housing experts have put that number even higher. Of those millions, about 3 million have said they would likely have to leave their home in the next few months due to eviction. 

The moratorium was originally put in place by the Center for Disease Control last fall at the peak of the Coronavirus pandemic, but the Supreme declared on June 29 that the CDC no longer had authority to extend the eviction moratorium. 

Despite this, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi took to twitter to put pressure on the CDC to extend the moratorium in light of the Delta variant even though the CDC has no legal authority to do so. Others called on Congress to take action on the moratorium extension. 

House Democrats made a last-minute move late Friday to extend the moratorium through October 18th, but Republicans objected to a vote by unanimous consent. The House recessed soon after, and Pelosi pivoted responsibility to the Biden administration. 

Peloi and other House Democratic Leaders have said they got very little notice from the administration on the extension, thus leading to the failed attempt. 

Sperling avoided blame on who “dropped the ball” and instead addressed the quick rise of the Delta variant. 

“The rise of the Delta variant is particularly harmful for those who are most likely to face evictions,” said Sperling, “as that reality became more clear at the end of the last week I think all of us started asking what more we could do.”

What the White House has done is focus on state and local relief. Sperling called on the localized governments to do more in accelerating funding to renters and landlords, and Biden is asking governors and mayors to extend the moratorium for the next few months. 

Sperling responded to a question asking if millions would lose their homes with a curt “No,” and discouraged use of the highest statistics to quantify risk. 

Still, he said the effects of the lapsed moratorium could hit a sizable amount of at risk people each month. 

“It could be a meaningful number, though, you know, every eviction is heartbreaking,” said Sperling. 

Sperling said the President has asked his team to look at every option they have to keep people in their homes, whether it’s encouraging states to extend the moratorium, simplifying rent applications or other avenues.