Housing Advocates Warn Executive Order Will Not Stop Evictions


Housing experts fear that a wave of evictions will become the next COVID-19 crisis and, while the President on August 8 issued an “Executive Order on Fighting the Spread of COVID-19 by Providing Assistance to Renters and Homeowners,” experts believe that the order will do nothing to help renters and homeowners during this economic and public health crisis.

The National Housing Law Project warns that the public needs to understand that the order will not expand protections that were provided under the CARES Act, which bars evictions from moving forward and provides emergency rental assistance funding. Landlords, courts, public housing authorities, and other entities can still seek to evict tenants.

“Trump’s executive order does nothing to help the 30 to 40 million people who could become homeless by the end of the year and in fact creates confusion for renters and homeowners alike,” said Deborah Thrope, NHLP Deputy Director.

She explained, “The order outrageously asks HUD to look under the couch cushions to solve a massive housing crisis. Instead, the Administration should act today to ban evictions at all federally-assisted properties and programs. In addition, Senate Republicans must stop blocking the HEROES Act, which creates a universal eviction moratorium and supports landlords with $100 billion in rental assistance.”

According to NHLP’s analysis, the order provides no directives to federal agencies.  “It simply requires that HUD ‘promote’ eviction prevention related to COVID financial hardships. Actions may include encouraging housing providers to minimize evictions and foreclosures,” they write.

Therefore, they argue, “This executive order will not protect tenants and homeowners from eviction, absent any existing state or local laws. The EO dangerously creates confusion for families across the country who are already struggling to understand the patchwork of laws and protections that may apply to them.”

Similarly, they claim that the order requests the HHS (Health and Human Services) and CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) “consider” whether halting evictions is reasonably necessary in light of Covid.

In the view of NHLP, “An eviction moratorium is necessary – experts and advocates have been saying so for months. More than 10 million people previously covered by the federal eviction moratorium in the CARES Act lost protections on July 24th, and tens of millions more Americans in private rental markets are vulnerable to evictions as the economic devastation of the pandemic wreaks havoc. Families need help paying rent right now and these actions are not likely to lead to immediate assistance.”

Nor are there any enforceable rights.

They argue: “Administrative agencies (including HUD, USDA, VA, Treasury, etc.) have the legal authority to fix this immediately for federally-assisted residents by enacting their own moratoria.”

The order asks the Treasury and HUD (Housing and Urban Development) to identify funds for temporary financial assistance.

However, “PHAs and federally-assisted owners are strapped for cash right now because of increased COVID-related costs; asking them to foot the bill for some type of emergency rental assistance is unrealistic at best.”

Finally, the NHLP questions the legality of the Executive Order itself—“Particularly with respect to private tenancies.”

In their view, what is needed is for the Senate to stop blocking the HEROES Act, which includes an eviction moratorium along with $100 billion in rental assistance for both landlords and tenants.

“Once again, this Administration is late to the table,” they argue.

This executive order asks HHS, CDC, and other agencies to ponder the question “is it necessary to prevent evictions during the pandemic?”

The answer is yes, says NHLP.  This is what experts and advocates have been saying it for months. “More than 10 million people previously covered by the federal evictions moratorium in the CARES Act lost protections on July 24th, and tens of millions more Americans in private rental markets are vulnerable to evictions as local and state moratorium expire and the economic devastation of the pandemic continues to wreak havoc.”

NHLP supports “the universal eviction moratorium in the HEROES Act that passed the House on May 15th. The bill also includes $100 billion for rental assistance.”

Taken together, “the universal moratorium and emergency rental assistance are what this country needs to halt the imminent wave of evictions. Further, HUD, USDA, Treasury, and other federal agencies have the authority to issue eviction moratoriums for the housing programs administered by their agencies. We support any efforts to utilize this authority to help renters and homeowners.”

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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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6 thoughts on “Housing Advocates Warn Executive Order Will Not Stop Evictions”

  1. Ron Oertel

    One wonders what’s going to happen when the additional assistance provided by government (due to Covid) ends (which has partly occurred, already).

    As well as any impact regarding investment in rental housing, if landlords are footing the bill. And if they’re not, who is (exactly)?

    I would imagine that those focused on the student market (in particular) are thinking about this, as well.

    “Help me, Mr. Wizard” – says that cartoon turtle. (Yertle? Oertel?)

    I wonder if this country is about to fall off a cliff of some type.

    1. Ron Oertel

      Well, “drizzle, drazzle, druzzle, drome, time for this one to” (note that it was Tooter the Turtle).  I do remember someone pointing this out to me, before.


      Never liked this guy, and how he always got himself into predicaments.  Maybe that was the point, in a most irritating manner.

      In contrast, Bugs took care of business, personally.

      Maybe that’s one reason that Bugs is so much more memorable.

      1. Keith Olsen

        People are acting like money grows on trees.

        Today may have been a day of reckoning.  Gold had it’s biggest drop since 2013 and the 10 year bond was up over 14%.  The market sold off going into the close.

        But people still want free rent and other handouts.

        1. Ron Oertel

          Yikes!  Though I thought that gold generally goes up, as the dollar weakens (and inflation is expected).  Maybe it’s just a blip?

          I never quite remember how bond prices work, so I thought I’d look it up:

          Inflation is a bond’s worst enemy. When inflation expectations rise, interest rates rise, bond yields rise, and bond prices fall.


          People are acting like money grows on trees.

          It does!  That’s where paper comes from, though I’m not sure what they use for money. Doesn’t most money just exist “digitally”, these days? Is it even backed by “paper” for that matter? 😉

          “Help me, Mr. Wizard”.  (But seriously, I think there’s going to be some people in trouble.)





        2. David Greenwald Post author

          What’s the alternative? I don’t think most people want free stuff (some do, but not most), they just don’t want to end up homeless in the middle of a pandemic.

        3. Ron Oertel

          David (or anyone):  What’s your best guess, regarding whether or not Trump’s most-recent plan will come to fruition?  Or, do you think that Congress will get together and provide an alternative for him to sign?

          I understand that Trump’s plan requires cooperation/assistance from states, as well. Which are already struggling, themselves.

          I sometimes wonder if capitalism itself is going to crash at some point.

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