GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — President Biden is urging Congress to extend the eviction moratorium that is set to expire on Saturday. The extension was initially approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), but a recent ruling from the Supreme Court deemed that it was in Congress's perimeters to extend the deadline, not the CDC's.
U.S. Census Data says approximately 1.2 million households are very likely to face imminent eviction with another 6.5 million households behind in rent, which amounts to more than $20 billion.
Biden is now urging fellow Democrats and legislators to extend the deadline, as resources have been scarce for struggling landlords and tenants. Congress allocated nearly $47 billion in federal rental assistance funds but only a fraction has been dispersed.
In turn, President Biden is urging Congress to act to extend the deadline once again, but legal experts warn that a more robust plan needs to be put into place to help distribute resources ahead of another looming deadline should it be extended.
"This is a major issue for our country, which is why the moratorium has been extended several times," said tenured Cooley Law Prof. Florise Neville-Ewell, who is advocating for law schools to be get involved with the process to make sure residents adequately tap into resources.
"Let's get law students involved because they are the ones who are in a position to say, 'We'll go down to the local auditorium; we'll go knock on doors.' I really think we could create an army here," said Prof. Neville-Ewell.
The end of the moratorium will inevitably create an overwhelmed court system, as landlords flock to file against tenants who have delayed payments.
"It just seems to me we need to make sure the money gets out. We need the moratorium, but we need a plan because if we continue to do it the way we're doing it, we'll have to continue to roll over the moratorium, which is just not good in the long run."
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki affirmed the administration's promise to those struggling.
“We will continue an all-of-government effort to keep Americans safe and housed through the swift dispersal of emergency rental assistance to states and cities," said Psaki, despite some states handing out little to no rental assistance funds.