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'People are still struggling' | DC area housing advocates fight to keep tenants in their homes

The Biden Administration set to appeal a judge's order to throw out the nationwide eviction moratorium.

WASHINGTON — The Biden Administration plans to appeal a judge’s decision that would remove the nationwide eviction moratorium. Still, housing advocates fear the ruling could still have devastating consequences.  

“This lift is going to be catastrophic, and we are going to see a mass wave of displacement across the nation, Veronica Mosqueda, senior organizer with the Latino Economic Development Center in D.C. said.

On Wednesday, a federal judge ruled the CDC overstepped its boundaries by issuing the moratorium set to expire June 30. The Biden administration indicated it would order a stay or pause on evictions until the appeal. 

Still, Mosqueda said the news is confusing for anxious renters. 

“In D.C., this can potentially lead to a lot of self-evictions and unnecessary stress and panic and fear on the most affected communities,” Mosqueda said. 

The federal ruling does not impact D.C. whose own eviction moratorium is tied to the state of emergency -- as Maryland’s is too. But, Virginia renters relied on the federal order for protection since the Commonwealth’s moratorium expired in January 2021. Currently, Virginia does offer rental assistance for residents.

Mosqueda said regardless of protections, tenants have been at risk of losing their homes throughout the pandemic. 

“We still have seen bad actors, bad landlords, misinforming tenants, illegally displacing them,” she explained, “So we are seeing this as a potential tool to be used here in DC to displace folks and misinformed them.” 

RELATED: Federal judge overturns CDC's national eviction moratorium

Advocates are hopeful the ruling will be overturned but are working on permanent solutions and legislation to address the housing crisis made worse by the pandemic.

RELATED: DC launches program to help residents impacted by pandemic with back rent/utilities. Apply here

“The truth is that this eviction moratorium that we have had was never going to be a permanent solution to this problem. The jobs haven't come back for so many of our communities, people still can't afford rent,” Mosqueda said. “And even though we are seeing a push to reopen, people are still struggling.”

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