More than 11 million households face homelessness when COVID-19 protections expire: report

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More than 11 million families are at risk of losing housing when federal coronavirus eviction and foreclosure protections expire later this year, according to a report released Monday by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

Analyzing private sector and federal data, the CFPB found that 2.1 million homeowners are at least 90 days behind on mortgage payments and 8.8 million households are behind on rent. 

Some homeowners and renters who’ve been unable to cover housing payments due to coronavirus-related expenses have been able to avoid homelessness thanks to a patchwork of federal and state bans on evictions and foreclosures. Millions of homeowners have also opted into forbearance to delay mortgage payments for several months.

But the CFPB warned that those families, while safe for now, will face housing insecurity when protections expire and the bill for missed rent or mortgage payments comes due.

“Put simply: we have very little time to prevent millions of families from losing their homes,” acting CFPB Director Eric Uejio wrote in a blog post about the report.

“I am deeply concerned that a mass wave of evictions and foreclosures will turn millions of families out on the streets. Such an event will not only be a humanitarian and public health disaster but will have repercussions throughout the housing sector and our economy at large,” he wrote.

President Biden last month extended the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention eviction ban through the end of March and a range of forbearance programs for federally backed mortgages through the end of June.

Households that use those protections, however, will still be on the hook for rent or mortgage owed during the period of non-payment — a daunting prospect for millions of families devastated by the coronavirus pandemic and recession.

The CFPB report also found that housing insecurity — like countless other dangers of the pandemic — afflicted Black, Hispanic and low-income households at far greater rates.

While 7 percent of white households reported being behind on rent or mortgage payments in December, 22 percent of Black households, 18 percent of Hispanic households and 13 percent of Asian households had missed payments, according Census Bureau data analyzed by the CFPB.

Black and Hispanic Americans are also more likely to contract and COVID-19 and die than white counterparts, less likely to have a job that allows teleworking, and more likely to be employed in sectors with higher COVID-19 risks.

“Many, particularly in Black and Hispanic communities, have still not recovered from the last financial crisis, more than a decade ago. And those same communities are once again bearing a disproportionate financial and health burden during the pandemic, through no fault of their own,” Uejio wrote.

Tags Centers for Disease Control and Prevention eviction ban Consumer Financial Protection Bureau coronavirus recession Joe Biden
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