Tenants at the Woodner Apartments in northwest D.C. protest evictions during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Courtesy photo via Facebook)
Tenants at the Woodner Apartments in northwest D.C. protest evictions during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Courtesy photo via Facebook)

The Trump administration, through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has called for a halt to evictionsthrough the end of the year to further prevent the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

The CDC issued the order last week as countless Americans faced eviction a result of the coronavirus pandemic, which has upended the economy and sent jobless claims soaring.

The agency says keeping people in their homes is whats best for public health.

In the context of a pandemic, eviction moratorialike quarantine, isolation, and social distancingcan be an effective public health measure utilized to prevent the spread of communicable disease,the CDC said.

Eviction moratoria facilitate self-isolation by people who become ill or who are at risk for severe illness from COVID-19 due to an underlying medical condition.

The agency said that temporarily banning evictions will allow state and local authorities to implement stay-at-home and social distancing orders to mitigate the community spread of COVID-19.

Furthermore, housing stability helps protect public health because homelessness increases the likelihood of individuals moving into congregate settings, such as homeless shelters, which then puts individuals at higher risk to COVID-19,the CDC said.

The ability of these settings to adhere to best practices, such as social distancing and other infection control measures, decreases as populations increase.

To invoke the order, the agency requires lessees and residents of residential properties to provide to their landlord an executed copy of a CDC declaration form.

Each adult listed on the lease, rental agreement, or housing contract must also complete a declaration form.

The CDC says the declaration, under penalty of perjury, would indicate that an individual will not earn more than $99,000 for the calendar year of 2020, or $198,000 if filing a joint tax return.

The measure addresses individuals who, the administration said, has used best efforts to obtain all available government assistance for rent or housing. It also said the measure addresses those who are using their best efforts to make timely partial payments that are as close to the full payment as the individuals circumstances may permit.

In addition, the measure said that it aids those for whom eviction would likely render the individual homelessor force the individual to move into and live in close quarters in a new congregate or shared living setting.

The order does not relieve any residents of the obligation to pay rent, nor does it prevent evictions for other reasons other than financial payments.

It also does nothing to prevent fees, penalties, or interest as a result of the failure to pay rent or other housing payments on a timely basis per the individualsleasing agreement.

To respond to this public health threat, the federal, state, and local governments have taken unprecedented or exceedingly rare actions, including border closures, restrictions on travel, stay-at- home orders, mask requirements, and eviction moratoria,the CDC writes said.

Despite these best efforts, COVID-19 continues to spread and further action is needed.

As of Sept. 5, there have been over 26 million cases of COVID-19 globally resulting in over 800,000 deaths.

In the U.S., six million cases have been identified with over 188,000 deaths due to the disease.

Sarafina Wright –Washington Informer Staff Writer

Sarafina Wright is a staff writer at the Washington Informer where she covers business, community events, education, health and politics. She also serves as the editor-in-chief of the WI Bridge, the Informer’s...

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