In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, millions who have been asked to practice social distancing and stay at home whenever possible may not have a home much longer.
With expanded unemployment benefits and both state and federal moratoriums on evictions set to expire, “Last Week Tonight” host John Oliver warned of a “catastrophe” that has been described as a “tsunami of evictions” here in Massachusetts.
“Experts are predicting horrific outcomes,” Oliver said. “If evictions continue as normal, this public health crisis could soon turn into a full-blown homelessness crisis.”
Oliver pointed out that evictions have consequences that impact individuals for the rest of their lives. Evictions can lead to damaged credit ratings, difficulties in obtaining housing, job loss, and more. Oliver trotted out a number of statistics about the long-standing affordable housing crisis, including the fact that the majority of renting households below the poverty line spend at least half of their household income on rent.
With rent due in two days, Oliver called on both state and federal lawmakers to pass any sort of rent relief, criticizing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and others for “dragging their feet.”
“While there are clearly no perfect options here, the very worst thing that we can do right now is nothing,” Oliver said. “Because every day we fail to act is a day that we’re compounding another future crisis for millions of vulnerable renters and their communities.”