Housing advocates demonstrated in Olympia Oct. 2 to call on Gov. Jay Inslee to extend the statewide moratorium on evictions as the coronavirus pandemic continues to threaten the livelihoods and housing of Washingtonians.
The advocates, organized by the Tenants Union of Washington and Be:Seattle, said leaders should use the extra time to create policy that will prevent an increase in homelessness and poverty after the moratorium ends.
In July, Inslee extended the eviction moratorium through Oct. 15, ensuring renters could not be evicted for nonpayment of rent. However, the amount of unpaid rent continues to accrue, leaving households who could not keep up with rent careening toward potential eviction.
According to the Household Pulse survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, 94,620 Washington renters over the age of 18 reported being somewhat or very likely to leave their homes due to eviction within the next two months. Another 34,524 adults said that they were somewhat or very likely to leave their homes due to foreclosure in the next two months.
A coalition of landlords sued Inslee and Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan on Sept. 3, arguing that the eviction bans “upended lease obligations and stripped landlords of one of their most basic property rights.”
Just days before, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had issued a nationwide moratorium on evictions on the basis of public health, provided the tenant could demonstrate that they would be homeless as a result of the eviction or be forced into conditions unsafe during the pandemic.
However, according to housing advocates, landlords in other states have been able to push evictions through, despite the federal eviction moratorium.
Individual housing units can prevent the spread of the virus because they allow healthy people to shelter in place and sick people to avoid infecting others. Short of a widely accessible vaccine, practices like social distancing and mask wearing are the most effective ways to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
“Housing is a cure!” advocates said in their press release.
Virus hits White House
President Donald Trump, First Lady Melania Trump and several Republican politicians have tested positive for the coronavirus, according to reports of conflicting detail.
The evening of Oct. 1, Trump announced that he was positive after other outlets reported that Hope Hicks, a senior advisor who had traveled with Trump on Air Force 1, tested positive for the virus. It was later revealed that Ronna McDaniels, head of the Republican National Committee who helped Trump with debate prep, had also tested positive.
Reports pooled from Oct. 2 showed that Trump had been taken to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. Oct. 5 reports put him still there.
The doctor leading Trump’s treatment said on Oct. 3 that Trump had been diagnosed 72 hours previously, but later said he misstated the timeline.
Ashley Archibald is a Staff Reporter covering local government, policy and equity. Have a story idea? She can be can reached at ashleya (at) realchangenews (dot) org. Follow Ashley on Twitter @AshleyA_RC.
Read more in the Oct. 7-13, 2020 issue.