Does California still face a tsunami of evictions after the moratorium ends? – Sentinel of Santa Cruz
By Nigel Duara, CalMatters
The moratorium on evictions in California comes to an end on June 30. Since the early days of the pandemic, housing analysts have worried about a tsunami of evictions every time the state lifts tenant protections.
Will there be a tsunami of evictions after the moratorium ends? Or a smaller wave? CalMatters asked Carolina Reid, associate professor of urban and regional planning at the University of California, Berkeley. The following interview has been edited slightly for clarity and length.
Q: A few months ago we discussed a possible eviction cliff. Are we still going to that cliff?
A: Gov. Gavin Newsom’s recent announcement that California would cover 100% of rent owed by tenants is good news and will help mitigate the worst impacts of the pandemic on rental households. Depending on the timing of those payments, ending the moratoriums on evictions on June 30 may be less difficult than many thought.
But it is not clear whether a) the aid will reach all the households that need it soon enough and b) the funds will be sufficient to pay off the rent owed.
There is also the question of how long it will take to regain full jobs and wages, and whether households have incurred other forms of unsustainable debt – for example, through credit cards or debt. other more expensive products like payday loans – to make ends meet during the pandemic.
Q: How many people are threatened by the tsunami of evictions? How much will they owe?
A: PolicyLink analysis suggests that approximately 900,000 California households are in arrears with rent, with an average of $ 4,600 in rent arrears.
The Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank’s rental debt estimates are higher – they estimate that nationally, the average amount of rent arrears (for those not paid on their rent) is closer to $ 8,000.
In a new study we’re about to release next week, we take a look at the actual rental debt of households living in subsidized housing – and therefore those with below-market rents. Even there, a small proportion of those who are in arrears with rent payments have accumulated more than $ 5,000 in rental debt. So I think these other estimates are reasonable averages, although of course some families may owe a lot more.
Our study also shows that families also struggle with the costs of food and may struggle to pay rent because they also help families who may be in greater need. Even though things are starting to open up, I think a lot of families are still really reeling from the economic and emotional impact of this crisis.
Q: What do you see in the Household Pulse Census Survey that was conducted during the pandemic? What do the polls suggest that could happen when the moratorium is lifted?
A: The Census Pulse Survey results have been fairly consistent over time – there has been some improvement in recent waves, and there is some volatility around the estimates due to the small sample size. , but in general about 12-15% California reports being behind on rent and just over a third think they’re very or somewhat likely to be evicted in the next two months.
Q: What do we know about the demographics of those at risk of deportation?
A: The risks of eviction and homelessness are significantly higher for Black, Hispanic and Indigenous households. In every measure and in every data set, we see higher rates of eviction vulnerability, including lost income and higher rates of rent defaults. In our new study, we also see the dramatic impact of this crisis on households with children, especially single-parent households. More than three times as many lone-parent households with children were behind on rent compared to households without children. This is of deep concern, as we know that the impacts of housing instability, insecurity and homelessness have a significant negative impact on the health, educational outcomes and well-being of children.
Q: What are the risks for families beyond the actual eviction process? What are some of the impacts of eviction?
A: Recent studies on eviction show how disruptive it is, not only in the short term in terms of housing loss and housing instability, but also in the long term. This greatly increases the likelihood of homelessness, but it can also lead to a cycle of housing insecurity and instability.
It also increases negative health outcomes and increases health care costs. This lowers credit scores, so it can act as a barrier to finding new housing or employment, and can increase borrowing costs for a car.
This article is part of California Division, a collaboration between newsrooms examining income inequality and economic survival in California.