Biden issues new rent moratorium, ‘Drag Race’ star opens up about struggles

The Biden administration announced the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is issuing a new federal moratorium on evictions. 

The previous federal eviction moratorium expired on July 31. The new moratorium, which will remain in effect through October 3, bans evictions in counties with high rates of COVID-19 transmission.

The eviction process already disproportionately affects historically marginalized groups, women and children, including the Black LGBTQ community. The lifting of the eviction moratorium on July 31 frightened many in these marginalized communities, who were also hardest hit by the pandemic, and left many scrambling for solutions. 

Recently, RuPaul’s Drag Race alum Stacy Layne Matthews opened up about facing possible eviction as the moratorium was lifted on July 31, sharing how “scary” it felt to be dealing with these serious housing issues. “I haven’t said much about my situation but here it goes,” she wrote on Instagram on Sunday, August 1. 

“I know everyone is struggling. Trust me I have helped many people get through tough times… I thought I had done enough to stay where I am currently living by myself in a one-bedroom apartment, but obviously I haven’t. I been given a week to figure it out or go to court and explain why I’m behind. I’ve never been evicted. It’s a scary situation.”

After Matthews, and many other at-risk renters, spoke out about their individual situations, the Biden administration, on Tuesday, August 3, imposed a new 60-day federal moratorium on evictions in areas at highest risk of the Delta variant. The move is meant to protect hundreds of thousands of at-risk renters, and comes after a rebellion was waged by upset Democratic lawmakers who were appalled that the White House allowed the previous eviction ban expire on July 31, plunging countless renters like Matthews into uncertainty.

Ian Thompson, Senior Legislative Advocate at the ACLU, said in a statement: “We commend the Biden administration for listening to the pleas of millions of renters facing eviction across the country by putting in place a new federal eviction moratorium. This is a critical move that will help keep the most vulnerable, low-income renters in stable housing during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.”

He also acknowledges that more action is needed to truly protect renters, stating, “This moratorium must be met with additional immediate action by the administration, Congress, and states to address the looming mass evictions crisis. Congress should still swiftly pass legislation to ensure that a federal moratorium on evictions remains in place as long as the COVID-19 emergency declaration is in place.” 

He goes on to say: “In addition, the Biden administration must work with states and localities to rapidly disburse the $46 billion in funding that Congress has already appropriated for rent relief. States and localities must also take bold action to protect renters from the devastating, long-lasting effects of eviction by, for example, adopting a right to counsel and protections against screening policies that reject applicants based on prior eviction filings. We need this meaningful action to stop mass evictions during the pandemic and beyond.”

The new moratorium will reportedly protect an estimated 90% of American renters until October 3.

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