Aug. 4, 2021 By Christian Murray
The federal government has extended the eviction moratorium in areas with high COVID-19 infection levels — which includes the five boroughs.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Tuesday issued a new 60-day moratorium in areas that have “substantial” or “high” COVID-19 community transmission rates. The moratorium will go through to Oct. 3.
The renewal comes after progressive Democrats in Congress — such as Cori Bush of Missouri and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — called on the Biden administration to extend the eviction moratorium that expired July 31. They had been protesting on the steps of the Capitol for days.
New York state has its own eviction moratorium in place through the end of August. However, the CDC’s announcement will give New York City tenants an extra month.
“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,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said in a statement.
“This moratorium is the right thing to do to keep people in their homes and out of congregate settings where COVID-19 spreads.”
The CDC cited survey data indicating that 6.9 million renters across the country were behind on their rent in June. The agency fears that there will be mass evictions without action.
The city is covered by the federal moratorium given the rate of infections.
The boroughs of Queens and the Bronx are deemed to have “substantial” community transmission rates, according to CDC data. Meanwhile, Manhattan, Staten Island and Brooklyn have been determined to be areas of “high” community transition.
President Joe Biden, when he announced the new moratorium, acknowledged that it would most likely be subject to a court challenge.
Biden, however, said that while it is being challenged in court more people will be able to tap into available rent relief funds that were approved by Congress.
Many states have been slow to rollout their rent relief programs, including New York.
For instance, New York state officials have been subject to criticism for the state’s slow rollout of its $2.7 billion rent relief program, which was mostly funded by the federal COVID-19 aid package.
The state launched its application process on June 1, but by July 19 had only processed $117,000 in total relief, according to state officials.
Last week, Governor Andrew Cuomo said the applications will be processed faster and that officials have now put a more streamlined process in place.
Ocasio-Cortez said that it made no sense to end the moratorium given the delays in getting the relief funds out.
“It is reckless not to extend the deadline when rental assistance funds have not gone out fast enough to protect people,” Ocasio-Cortez said in a statement on July 23. “We must protect the vulnerable and do everything in our power to prevent a mass eviction crisis.”