It doesn't feel like things can get any worse right now for Americans, what with there being over 2 million confirmed COVID-19 cases in the United States and tensions mounting over the murder of George Floyd, but there's a proverbial pigeon flying overhead ready to shit in our proverbial mouths, and that shit is a very real housing crisis.
Correction: Call it a housing apocalypse because it's going to make the 2008 housing crisis look like a picnic (in the street). In fact, we were already in the middle of a housing crisis with over 2 million evictions occurring each year. But, now that many of the eviction moratoriums put in place due to COVID-19 are set to expire, things are about to get much worse.
Consider that these moratoriums were put in place because more than 40 million Americans have been forced to file for unemployment amid layoffs. They've been able to stay afloat because of an extra $600 per week in federal unemployment benefits, but those benefits will expire at the end of July. If you don't have your job back by August, then you might have to stop job hunting and start scouting which park bench might be most comfortable to sleep on.
That doesn't even take in to account what kind of effect a rising homeless population could have on our current pandemic. According to Solomon Greene, a senior fellow in housing policy at The Urban Institute:
"Housing instability has huge health consequences even when we're not facing a pandemic. Exposure risk is so much more amplified and worsened when you can't shelter in place because you don't have a place to shelter."
Look, I'm not an economist, so I'm not going to say I have any answers here, but letting a significant portion of the population wander the streets and further spread sickness feels a little too zombie movie for my taste. A COVID version of 2008 feels very much like an apocalypse, but at least this time around, we have the advantage of seeing it coming. Maybe that could be enough to stop it, but with this administration, we might be better off hoping for the meteor.
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