As medical professionals strive to stay ahead of a worldwide pandemic, many households are falling behind financially, particularly when it comes to past-due rent and the late fees that only make a bad situation worse.
Previous coronavirus relief placed a “protective bubble” over renters struggling to make ends meet. However, the federal eviction moratorium is about to expire. Add to that the expanded unemployment benefits that came to a ceremonious end over the summer.
A Perfect Storm of Debt Problems
Nearly 12 million households throughout the country average three-month delinquencies in rent payments, with each owing $6,000 on average. Combining 11.4 million renters nationwide, many in low-income homes, debts are at $70 billion.
Another report in September from the National Council of State Housing Agencies found that rent accounts for nearly half of debt loads or $34 billion. Stout, a global advisory firm responsible for producing the report, has provided biweekly updates on those facing evictions. Their data shows that between 7 to 14 million households face removal from their dwellings at the beginning of the new year.
Those that received aid saw it come to an end as fall ended, including states that would face harsh winters. Coastal areas in California can see the temperature plummet to 40°F. In addition to the elements, they would also have a combined debt burden of $24 billion post-eviction.
To date, Congress has yet to approve a relief package that would include emergency help. Should legislation go through, a “wait time” will occur before funds are disbursed. Meanwhile, the clock continues to click to the first day of 2020 that could see countless renters evicted and literally left out in the cold during an already severe health crisis.