With affordable housing already scarce, Oakland is poised for a post-pandemic homelessness boom

Without rent relief for California tenants, housing advocates fear the pandemic will worsen the homelessness crisis

Salon - Amid the pandemic, many cities and counties adopted eviction moratoriums as a stopgap to prevent evictions and therefore homelessness. Yet as both everyday Americans and politicians grow weary of lockdowns, many public health experts and activists fear what will happen when these ordinances lift.

The end of the eviction moratorium is particularly grim in cities like Oakland, California, where economic inequalities were already severe before the pandemic. In 2018, a United Nations report described Oakland's homelessness crisis as "cruel and inhumane."

Oakland's moratorium terminates on August 31st, and tenants will be responsible for paying back rent that they missed payments on in the intervening months. Hence, in a city where the average rent is $2,300 for a one-bedroom apartment, a tenant could be responsible for paying $10,000 or more in back rent once the moratorium lifts. For someone who has been unemployed for months, and may have already been struggling financially, paying back-rent could be an impossible feat. The moratorium prohibits most evictions related to COVID-19, but tenants could still be taken to small claims court by their landlords or face eviction if they cant pay rent after August 31. 

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