Columbia, SC - Congressman James E. Clyburn today issued the following statement on federal rental assistance and the need to extend the eviction moratorium:
“Due to the surging delta variant and the need to give some states more time to deliver federal rental assistance funds, I am joining my colleagues in House Democratic Leadership calling on the Biden Administration to extend the CDC eviction moratorium into October. Studies show that evictions increase the spread of the coronavirus infections and deaths. With the increase in cases caused by the delta variant, the CDC should extend the eviction moratorium to protect public health. Congress has appropriated over $46 billion in rental assistance funds to keep people in their homes, but many state and local governments say they need more to time to disburse those funds to landlords and renters. By June 30, only $3 billion of that $46 billion had been disbursed. But extending the Moratorium is not all that is needed. Some State and local governments have been setting up rental assistance programs from scratch. According to the Census Bureau, as of June 2021, 7.8 million people were behind on their rent. The economic crisis caused by the pandemic has caused great hardship. In some states, it has disproportionately impacted communities of color, and made many renters vulnerable to eviction. As of June 30:
- South Carolina had disbursed almost none of the $500 million in rental assistance allocated for the state.
- Florida has only disbursed $1.5 million in rental assistance out of $1.6 billion allocated for the state.
- Georgia disbursed only $8.4 million of the $1 billion in rental assistance allocated for the state.
Sadly, certain large corporate landlords have taken advantage of families during this time and the Select Subcommittee that I chair is investigating this. In July, I sent letters to Pretium Partners, Invitation Homes, Ventron Management, and the Siegel Group to determine whether they are cooperating with rental assistance programs to avoid evictions, and whether they have complied with the CDC eviction moratorium. These companies, together, have filed for at least 5,000 evictions during the pandemic. In addition to extending the moratorium, we must hold bad corporate landlords accountable. I urge them to work with tenants to access federal rental assistance funds as an alternative to eviction. Some states and localities have disbursed funds relatively well, including Virginia ($220 million), Texas ($616 million), Illinois ($172 million), Massachusetts ($118 million), Houston-Harris County, Texas ($137 million), Cook County, Illinois ($39 million).The success of these programs shows that slow-distributing states can dramatically improve.”