By Brian Skinner, Esq.
A story in today’s Washington Post reports that landlords, apartment owners and housing industry groups have unleashed a barrage of legal challenges against the Trump administration’s order protecting renters from eviction, leaving millions of families once again facing the risk of homelessness in the middle of a deadly pandemic.
On a couple of occasions I wrote about what is the most severe housing crisis the U.S. has ever faced and the financial disaster that is on the horizon for millions of households on track to owe as much as $34 billion in past-due rent by January.
As the WaPo story explains “the legal plight facing millions of cash-strapped renters highlights the nature of the nation’s unequal recovery, as Americans who struggled most at the outset of the pandemic continue to face severe hardship — even as the economy begins to improve.”
As the political wrangling continues in Washington, D.C., this crisis continues to grow. A proposal by House Democrats that included relief for renters as part of their $3 trillion coronavirus stimulus package, has encountered steep opposition on Capitol Hill as Republicans who continue to waver on the size, scope and necessity of another round of federal relief.
The economic impact of the pandemic on renters, landlords, and communities is extraordinary. It is imperative to the preservation of families and communities that both the federal government and the states act to address this deepening crisis.
Brian is the former counsel to the West Virginia House of Delegates Judiciary Committee and counsel to the West Virginia Senate Minority Caucus. He was also general counsel to the West Virginia State Health Officer and Commissioner for the Bureau for Public Health. He has almost two-decades of experience as a strategic advisor and chief legal counsel to both executive and legislative branch public officials.