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CDC moratorium on evictions a temporary fix to a bigger problem

Marc Eichenbaum, with Houston's Homeless Initiatives, said, “This is a building tsunami that could crash on us very soon.”

HOUSTON — Houston city leaders are praising the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s decision to halt some residential evictions because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The CDC said only those who meet specific income criteria and proof they’ve sought government help and can’t pay rent because of COVID-19.

Mayor Sylvester Turner and city council members said they’re happy to see a moratorium on evictions but continued to encourage folks to pay if at all possible. The threat of evictions has become a huge topic of discussion for anyone impacted by COVID-19.

“This is a building tsunami that could crash on us very soon,” Marc Eichenbaum, with the city’s Homeless Initiatives, said.

Eichenbaum said the No. 1 reason people become homeless is because of loss of income which he said can go hand-in-hand with evictions. At the moment, Eichenbaum said they’re not seeing a huge influx of people becoming homeless.

“However, what we know from previous crises is usually we will not see or feel that impact until months if not years down the road,” he said.

Eichenbaum said Houstonians facing eviction will do anything they can to keep a roof over their heads.

“So they’re staying with friends, they’re staying with family,” he said. “They’re going from apartment to apartment. None of that is good but it’s better than actually being in a shelter during COVID or on the streets.”

He said once they’ve exhausted all options, then the threat of homelessness becomes a reality.

Turner said the CDC’s moratorium on evictions gives people a lifeline to get their stuff in order. However, he urges anyone who can pay rent to do so.

“But they make it very, very clear that your financial obligation is not being waived,” Turner said. “At some point, it’s going to have to be paid.”

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