Even with a September 1st moratorium on evictions in the United States, thousands of eviction filings since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic have left families throughout the nation homeless. In Florida alone there have been 1,600 evictions since the month of April, according to a story published in the Orlando Sentinel in June of this year.
With unemployment insurance claims on the rise throughout the nation, and the initial extra $600 that had been assigned through the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program running out, the United States could find itself in an unprecedented housing crisis come January.
The CDC recently issued a nation-wide moratorium on evictions, but even with this moratorium, thousands of renters throughout the country will find themselves owing back-rent come January 1st. Given how high infection rates remain through large swaths of the country, it is unlikely that consumer spending will have rebounded by then to a pre-pandemic level, or at least to a level that can facilitate economic recovery.
According to Reuters, $32 billion in back rent will be owed in January, by approximately 8 million tenants throughout the United States.
With an owner-occupied housing rate below the United States average, Puerto Rico’s renters could find themselves in a similarly precarious situation once the CDC moratorium ends. After the January earthquakes left thousands in National Guard camps, the housing situation in Puerto Rico was in a more unstable situation than that of many US states. The COVID-19 pandemic has only served to worsen these issues.
The island could very well end up in a situation where without federal aid, thousands end up behind on their rent payments and could end up on the streets.