White House Believes CDC Eviction Moratorium Is Proper Use of Authority

According to a new release from the Center for Disease Control, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky recently signed an order determining the evictions of tenants for failure to make rent or housing payments could be detrimental to public health control measures to slow the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. This order will expire on October 3, 2021 and applies in United States counties experiencing substantial and high levels of community transmission levels of SARS-CoV-2.

The eviction moratorium allows additional time for rent relief to reach renters and to further increase vaccination rates. In the context of a pandemic, eviction moratoria—like quarantine, isolation, and social distancing—can be an effective public health measure utilized to prevent the spread of communicable disease. Eviction moratoria facilitate self-isolation and self-quarantine by people who become ill or who are at risk of transmitting COVID-19 by keeping people out of congregate settings and in their own homes.

“The emergence of the delta variant has led to a rapid acceleration of community transmission in the United States, putting more Americans at increased risk, especially if they are unvaccinated. This moratorium is the right thing to do to keep people in their homes and out of congregate settings where COVID-19 spreads. It is imperative that public health authorities act quickly to mitigate such an increase of evictions, which could increase the likelihood of new spikes in SARS-CoV-2 transmission.  Such mass evictions and the attendant public health consequences would be very difficult to reverse,” Walensky said.

Press Secretary Jen Psaki released the following statement on eviction moratorium:

Throughout the pandemic, preventing evictions and keeping people in their homes has been a proven way of slowing the spread of COVID-19.

The Administration believes that CDC’s new moratorium is a proper use of its lawful authority to protect the public health. We are pleased that the district court left the moratorium in place, though we are aware that further proceedings in this case are likely.

The President continues to call on State and local elected officials and judges to issue local eviction moratoriums and move aggressively to distribute the $46.5 billion in emergency rental assistance funds that are available through the bipartisan COVID relief act that Congress passed in December 2020, and through the President’s American Rescue Plan that was enacted in March 2021. And, the President calls on landlords to seek out rental assistance and not evict tenants from their homes, and echoes Attorney General Garland’s calls for state and local courts to implement policies to discourage eviction filings until landlords and tenants have sought emergency rental assistance funds.

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