evictions

President Biden plans to extend a nationwide pause on evictions through the end of March.

The federal eviction moratorium, implemented through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is intended to help tenants who have been battered economically by the pandemic.

Updated at 8:35 p.m. ET

White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters that President Biden has signed 15 executive actions, part of a flurry of steps he plans to take in the coming days to address his top policy priorities — and to roll back some of former President Donald Trump's initiatives.

White House officials had originally told reporters there would be 17 actions signed, focused on addressing the COVID-19 crisis, the economy, racial justice and climate change.

When Tiffany Robinson heard about an order from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to stop evictions, it seemed like the life raft she needed.

"I thought this is going to help," said Robinson, "this is going to protect me."

Jamie Glisson

This Sunday at 3 p.m., join KOSU for a special presentation of "Black Plague: COVID In North Tulsa" from Focus: Black Oklahoma.

The three-part series will focus on the effects of COVID-19 in the north Tulsa community. The episodes look at the pandemic's effect on youth, domestic violence, evictions and homelessness.

Like much of the response to the coronavirus across the United States, the approach to housing during the pandemic has been an uneven patchwork.

Forty-three states and Washington, D.C., put in eviction moratoriums starting in March and April, but 27 of them ended in the spring and summer. Then in September, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ordered a national stop to evictions.

The pandemic rages on. More than 180,000 people tested positive for the coronavirus on Tuesday. States and cities are closing businesses. Nearly 800,000 people are applying for unemployment every week.

Despite all this, Congress has not passed an economic relief package since late April — and a set of vital relief measures helping millions of Americans avoid financial ruin and eviction are all set to expire this month.

Flickr / Rental Realities

Thousands of evictions have been filed in Oklahoma since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in March. While a CDC moratorium protects people with evictions filed against them until the end of the year, some rural areas lack legal resources. Some experts say there needs to be more protections to keep people in their homes.

In August, Robert Pettigrew was working a series of odd jobs. While washing the windows of a cellphone store he saw a sign, one that he believes the "good Lord" placed there for him.

"Facing eviction?" the sign read. "You could be eligible for up to $3,000 in rent assistance. Apply today."

Ruby Jensen was living in a rented room in a Los Angeles house in June, when her landlady sent her a text that would upend her life.

Unhappy about the condition of the house, the landlady wanted Jensen and every other tenant to leave immediately. She was moving relatives back in, the text said.

Even in normal times, eviction requests have to proceed through the court system in California, said housing attorney Aimee Williams of the Castelblanco Law Group.

Before a new federal eviction ban went into effect recently, Alice and Jeremy Bumpus were on the verge of getting evicted. They live in a house outside Houston with their three kids, and they both lost their jobs after the pandemic hit. Alice worked at an airport fast food restaurant; Jeremy worked at a warehouse.

"We explained to the judge that due to everything that was going on, we just fell behind on just our one month's rent," Alice says.

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