CDC orders temporary halt to evictions to prevent virus spread

U.S.

WASHINGTON (NewsNation) — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a sweeping order Tuesday that temporarily halts landlords from evicting millions of tenants in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The directive comes after President Donald Trump’s administration issued a directive to bar evictions through the end of the year. It stems from an executive order that Trump issued in early August.

Under the new CDC order, renters cannot be evicted if they meet certain conditions, which includes exhausting efforts to obtain government assistance to make rent payments. Other criteria includes having an income of $198,000 or less for couples filing jointly, or $99,000 for single filer, as well as affirming they’re likely to become homeless if evicted. Renters must also affirmatively declare they’re unable to pay rent because of hardships due to the pandemic.

Senior administration officials explained that the director of the CDC has broad authority to take actions deemed reasonably necessary to prevent the spread of a communicable disease.

“Housing stability helps protect public health because homelessness increases the likelihood of individuals moving into congregate settings, such as homeless shelters, which then puts individuals at higher risk to COVID-19,” the health agency stated in the order. “The ability of these settings to adhere to best practices, such as social distancing and other infection control measures, decreases as populations increase. Unsheltered homelessness also increases the risk that individuals will experience severe illness from COVID-19.”

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has said the move affects about 40 million renters.

Federal, state and local governments have approved eviction moratoriums during the course of the pandemic for many renters, but those protections are expiring rapidly.

The CDC said the order doesn’t apply in any state, local, territorial or tribal areas with a moratorium that provides the same or greater level of protections.

Brian Morgenstern, a deputy White House press secretary, said Tuesday’s announcement means that people struggling to pay rent due to COVID-19 would not have to worry about being evicted and risking the spread of the disease or exposure to it.

Trump’s Democratic rival, Joe Biden, called on Aug. 1 for Congress to enact a “broad emergency housing support program” to prevent evictions and shore up landlords.

Congress enacted an unprecedented $2.3 trillion pandemic rescue package in March that paused evictions in most federal subsidized housing, but that moratorium has expired and Congress and the White House have been in a monthslong stalemate over new relief legislation.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

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