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The Federal Eviction Moratorium is Set to End Today. Here’s What You Need to Know

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  • The federal eviction moratorium, which protects around 12 million renters from being evicted, is set to expire at midnight Friday.
  • The moratorium was signed into law under the CARES Act, and while the House extended the protections under a $3 trillion coronavirus relief bill passed in May, Senate Republicans have not been able to agree to any further legislation leading up to several key deadlines.
  • Now, millions of people will be forced to pay months of unpaid rent or risk being evicted.
  • Here’s what you need to know about the federal eviction ban ending, what it might mean for you, and what resources are out there for those impacted.

Federal Moratorium

As coronavirus cases continue to spike and renewed closures slow the already faltering U.S. economy, the federal protections that have prevented an estimated 12 million Americans from being evicted by their landlords are set to expire at midnight on Friday.

The eviction moratorium, which was signed into law in March as part of the $2 trillion CARES Act, protected nearly a third of U.S. renters who are residents of buildings and homes with federal mortgages.

Here’s what you need to know about the ending eviction prohibition, and what it means for renters.

What Happen’s When the Moratorium Ends?

Under the moratorium, landlords were prohibited from evicting tenants, but any unpaid rent continued to accumulate. With the eviction ban ending, millions of renters will now be forced to pay months of delayed rent or risk losing their homes during a pandemic and at a time when many are already struggling financially. 

A recent U.S. census survey found that 23.7 million Americans—or one in three renters—had little or no confidence that they could pay next month’s rent. More than half of those people also said they had not paid their most recent month’s rent.

To make matters worse, the additional $600 a week in federal unemployment benefits that have helped millions of Americans make ends meet in the face of mass layoffs are set to expire by the end of next week.

In May, the House passed a $3 trillion coronavirus relief bill that would extend the benefits until next year, but in addition to declaring the bill dead on arrival, Senate Republicans have also said that the benefits must be much lower.

How low, however, has become one of several points of contention within the Republican Party, which is currently struggling to agree on the provisions for a last-minute coronavirus relief bill. For months, the party refused to take up any legislation on the matter, preferring instead to wait until they were closer to the deadlines outlined under the CARES Act.

Now that they are down to the wire to pass a bill before those deadlines expire, negotiations within the Republican Paty have been stalled due to divisions between the Senate GOP and the White House.

As a result, experts now say that both the delayed legislation and the cut in benefits could speed up potential evictions.

“We know renters have been struggling to pay their rent,” Samantha Batko, senior research associate at the Urban Institute told The Hill. “They’re generally lower incomes, have less assets to draw on, and work in industries that are subject to job loss.” 

However, renters will still have a little time once the moratorium does end. 

Landlords are still required to give renters 30 days’ notice before they can file an eviction complaint in court, meaning that even though the ban ends Friday, eviction paperwork will not be filed until late August. That could potentially give Congress more time to come up with a plan.

Will Every Renter Be Affected?

As noted before, the federal moratorium only applied to those who rent in buildings with a mortgage that has government backing. Additionally, some renters will still be protected under state and local eviction moratoriums. Under certain types of bans, landlords are also prevented from charging late fees or penalties.

To find out if your state has any policies protecting renters, you can go to this page set up by Princeton University’s Eviction Lab, or this map by ProPublica.

While many of those moratoriums are not set to expire until August or September, some have already expired. According to the Eviction Lab, after local moratoriums expired, eviction filings went back to pre-pandemic levels almost immediately.

Unless both federal and local bans are extended, even more renters will face eviction in the coming months, according to an analysis by the Eviction Defense Project. The group found that of the 110 million Americans living in rental households, 20% are at risk of eviction by Sept. 30. Black and Hispanic renters are expected to be impacted the hardest.

What Can I Do If I Can’t Pay Rent? 

If you are impacted by the federal ban ending and cannot pay your rent, experts suggest the first thing you do is tell your landlord and try to come up with a deal.

“A lot of landlords are willing to work with people in this situation. They would rather keep a tenant who can pay less than try to get someone new in,” Shamus Roller, executive director of the National Housing Law Project told the Washington Post.

Bob Pinnegar, the chief executive of the National Apartment Association, also told the Post that some property managers are providing help for their tenants, like waiving late fees.

Some states and cities have also created rent assistance programs to help people make up missed payments.

The National Low Income Housing Coalition has been tracking local rent relief programs on this page, where you can see if your state or city has any programs you can apply for.

If you want to look at some additional resources, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and mortgage loan company Fannie Mae have also set up pages with information for renters. 

What Can I do If I’m Facing Eviction?

If you are facing eviction, you can seek the help of a legal-aid attorney, many of whom will assist you for free or a small fee. To find a legal-aid attorney, you can go to LawHelp.org or look up online resources and local housing rights groups in your area.

In addition to helping you navigate the confusing legal process, which varies by state, city, and even courthouse, a legal-aid attorney can also help you determine if your landlord is violating any federal programs by evicting you.

For example, earlier in the pandemic, the Federal Housing Finance Agency allowed property owners with mortgages backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to temporarily skip some payments. As a result, landlords who have been able to skip paying their mortgages were barred from evicting renters or charging late fees while receiving that assistance. 

The Legal Aid Justice Center has also created a page with resources in both Spanish and English regarding dealing with evictions during the pandemic.

Will Congress Do More to Help Address the Issue?

While Republican infighting continues to stall a much-needed coronavirus relief bill, Senate Democrats have proposed several plans to help renters, including some that had initially been outlined in the House bill passed back in May.

“Forcing thousands of people out of their homes during a pandemic will make a public health crisis worse,” said Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Ma.), who, along with several other Democratic Senators, has been pushing for extending protections.

Among other things, the proposed legislation would expand the moratorium beyond the federal level and also extend it until next March. Notably, the plan would also mandate the creation of a rental assistance fund.

While Senate Republicans have broadly rejected the Democrat’s proposals, housing advocates have told reporters that they are hopeful Congress will act, because it is in their best interest to avoid a serious rental market crisis. 

See what others are saying: (The Washington Post) (The Hill) (Bloomberg)

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Lawmakers Call For Action as Oil Companies Post Record Profits Amid Rising Gas Prices

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A recent analysis from the Center for American Progress found that the top five oil companies earned over 300% more in profits during the first quarter of 2022 than the same period last year.


As Consumer Prices Climb, Big Oil Profits

American oil companies are facing increased scrutiny over profiteering practices as gas prices continue to surpass record highs driven by Russia’s ongoing war in Ukraine.

Last week, costs surged to above $4 per gallon in all 50 states for the first time ever, according to the auto club AAA. Prices are currently averaging over $4.59 per gallon nationwide, which is 50% higher than they were this time last year.

In addition to consumers hurting at the pump, there are also rising concerns for industries that rely on fuel and oil like trucking, freight, airlines, and plastic manufacturers. 

To account for high prices, some in sectors have responded by ramping up prices further down the supply chain to account for costs, putting even more of a burden on consumers to pay for everyday items.

But as Americans struggle with sky-high gas prices at a time of record inflation, recently released earnings reports show that many of the world’s largest oil companies thrived in the first quarter of 2022.

ExxonMobil more than doubled its earnings from the same period last year, reporting a net profit of $5.5 billion. Meanwhile, Chevron logged its best quarterly earnings in almost a decade, and Shell had its highest earnings ever.

According to a new analysis conducted by the Center for American Progress, the top five oil companies — including the three mentioned above —  earned over 300% more in profits this quarter than during the same time last year.

“In fact, these five companies’ first-quarter profits alone are equivalent to almost 28 percent of what Americans spent to fill up their gas tanks in the same time period,” the report noted.

Per Insider, for at least four of those companies, that growth marks a tremendous increase in profits from even before the pandemic.

Lawmakers Ramp-Up Efforts to Reduce Prices

To address these startling disparities, federal lawmakers have moved in recent weeks to increase pressure on oil companies and take steps to lower prices.

On Thursday, the House of Representatives passed a bill proposed by Rep. Katie Porter (D-Ca.) that aims to reduce gas prices. The legislation, called The Consumer Fuel Price Gouging Prevention Act, would give the president the authority to issue an Energy Emergency Declaration that would be effective for up to 30 days with the possibility of being renewed.

In that emergency period, it would be illegal for anyone to increase gas or home energy fuel prices to a level that is exploitative or “unconscionably excessive.” 

The proposal would also give the Federal Trade Commission the power to investigate and manage instances of price gouging from larger companies and give state authorities the ability to enforce price-gouging violations in civil courts.

The bill, which has already seen widespread opposition from Republicans and extensive lobbying from pro-oil interest groups, faces an uphill battle in the 50-50 split Senate.

During debate on the act Thursday, Rep. Porter delivered an impassioned speech accusing oil companies of driving their record profits by using their market power to unfairly increase prices.

“The oil and gas industry currently has more than 9,000 permits to drill for oil on federal land, but they are deliberately keeping production low to please their investors and increase their short-term profits,” she said. “Even when the price of crude oil falls, oil and gas companies have refused to pass those savings on to consumers.”

“Let me be clear: price gouging is anti-capitalist,” Porter continued. “It exploits a lack of competition, which is a hallmark of capitalism. It is an effort to juice corporate profits at the expense of customers. Energy markets are reeling because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Big oil companies, however, are using this temporary chaos to cover up their abuse.”

See what others are saying: (The Washington Post) (Vox) (NPR)

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Lincoln College to Close for Good After COVID and Ransomware Attack Ruin Finances

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Last year, 1,043 schools in the U.S. were the victim of ransomware attacks, including 26 colleges or universities, according to an analysis by Emsisoft.


One of the Only Historically Black Colleges in the Midwest Goes Down

After 157 years of educating mostly Black students in Illinois, Lincoln College will close its doors for good on Friday.

The college made the announcement last month, citing financial troubles caused by the coronavirus pandemic and a ransomware attack in December.

Enrollment dropped during the pandemic and the administration had to make costly investments in technology and campus safety measures, according to a statement from the school.

A shrinking endowment put additional pressure on the college’s budget.

The ransomware attack, which the college has said originated from Iran, thwarted admissions activities and hindered access to all institutional data. Systems for recruitment, retention, and fundraising were completely inoperable at a time when the administration needed them most.

In March, the college paid the ransom, which it has said amounted to less than $100,000. But according to Lincoln’s statement, subsequent projections showed enrollment shortfalls so significant the college would need a transformational donation or partnership to make it beyond the present semester.

The college put out a request for $50 million in a last-ditch effort to save itself, but no one came forward to provide it.

A GoFundMe aiming to raise $20 million for the college only collected $2,452 as of Tuesday.

Students and Employees Give a Bittersweet Goodbye

“The loss of history, careers, and a community of students and alumni is immense,” David Gerlach, the college’s president, said in a statement.

Lincoln counts nearly 1,000 enrolled students, and those who did not graduate this spring will leave the institution without degrees.

Gerlach has said that 22 colleges have worked with Lincoln to accept the remaining students, including their credits, tuition prices, and residency requirements.

“I was shocked and saddened by that news because of me being a freshman, so now I have to find someplace for me to go,” one student told WMBD News after the closure was announced.

When a group of students confronted Gerlach at his office about the closure, he responded with an emotional speech.

“I have been fighting hard to save this place,” he said. “But resources are resources. We’ve done everything we possibly could.”

On April 30, alumni were invited back to the campus to revisit the highlights of their college years before the institution closed.

On Saturday, the college held its final graduation ceremony, where over 200 students accepted their diplomas and Quentin Brackenridge performed the Lincoln Alma Mater.

Last year, 1,043 schools in the U.S. were the victim of ransomware attacks, including 26 colleges or universities, according to an analysis by Emsisoft.

See what others are saying: (The New York Times) (Herald Review) (CNN)

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U.S. Tops One Million Coronavirus Deaths, WHO Estimates 15 Million Worldwide

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India’s real COVID death toll stands at about 4.7 million, ten times higher than official data, the WHO estimated.


One Million Dead

The United States officially surpassed one million coronavirus deaths Wednesday, 26 months after the first death was reported in late February of 2020.

Experts believe that figure is likely an undercount, since there are around 200,000 excess deaths, though some of those may not be COVID-related.

The figure is the equivalent of the population of San Jose, the tenth-largest city in the U.S., vanishing in just over two years. To put the magnitude in visual perspective, NECN published a graphic illustrating what one million deaths looks like.

At the beginning of the pandemic, the White House predicted between 100,000 and 240,000 Americans would die from the coronavirus in a best-case scenario.

By February 2021, over half a million Americans had died of COVID.

The coronavirus has become the third leading cause of death in the U.S. behind heart disease and cancer.

The pandemic’s effects go beyond its death toll. Around a quarter of a million children have lost a caregiver to the virus, including about 200,000 who lost one or both parents. Every COVID-related death leaves an estimated nine people grieving.

The virus has hit certain industries harder than others, with food and agriculture, warehouse operations and manufacturing, and transportation and construction seeing especially high death rates.

People’s mental health has also been affected, with a study in January of five Western countries including the U.S. finding that 13% of people reported symptoms of PTSD attributable to actual or potential contact with the virus.

Fifteen Million Dead

On Thursday, the World Health Organization estimated that nearly 15 million people have died from the pandemic worldwide, a dramatic revision from the 5.4 million previously reported in official statistics.

Between January 2020 and the end of last year, the WHO estimated that between 13.3 million and 16.6 million people died either due to the coronavirus directly or because of factors somehow attributed to the pandemic’s impact on health systems, such as cancer patients who were unable to seek treatment when hospitals were full of COVID patients.

Based on that range, scientists arrived at an approximate total of 14.9 million.

The new estimate shows a 13% increase in deaths than is usually expected for a two-year period.

“This may seem like just a bean-counting exercise, but having these WHO numbers is so critical to understanding how we should combat future pandemics and continue to respond to this one,” Dr. Albert Ko, an infectious diseases specialist at the Yale School of Public Health who was not linked to the WHO research, told the Associated Press.

Most of the deaths occurred in Southeast Asia, Europe, and the Americas.

According to the WHO, India counts the most deaths by far with 4.7 million, ten times its official number.

See what others are saying: (NBC) (U.S. News and World Report) (Scientific American)

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