I read with great interest the story about the Eviction Lab and Matthew Desmond’s work on the possible consequences of the pandemic for families that are living on the margin (On the Campus, November issue). Given my own research on homelessness, there can be no question at all about the impact of the end of the eviction moratorium on both the numbers of evictions and the resulting increase in homelessness across the country. One researcher has indicated the possibility of a 40 to 50 percent increase in homelessness come January if the moratorium is lifted.
I wanted to add a bit more to his narrative. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities in their mid-October COVID Watch Update, there are 7–11 million children who now live in a household where the children did not get enough to eat because the household couldn’t afford it. To make matters worse Black children were almost three times as likely to live in such households as white children, thus reinforcing the discrimination that continues to exist in this country. In addition, some 11 million adult renters were not caught up on September rents; again, this was true of a disproportionate number of Black and Latino renters. Finally, some 77 million adults, one in every three in the country, reported difficulty in covering usual expenses in the past seven days.
In short, the pandemic has wreaked even greater havoc on poor families than existed before the virus landed on our shores. We must take steps to counteract this tragedy.