With the stock market cratering, businesses floundering, and the American economy teetering on the brink of catastrophic collapse, President Trump announced plans to stave off the prospect of widespread evictions, as more and more people wonder about their financial futures. Speaking during what has become a daily coronavirus-themed press conference, Trump on Wednesday said that the Department of Housing and Urban Development will suspend all evictions and foreclosures for at least a month, as the government struggles to adequately respond to the growing pandemic crisis.
"The Department of Housing and Urban Development is providing immediate relief to renters and homeowners by suspending all foreclosures and evictions until the end of April," Trump declared — a move that one HUD official claimed to Politico would affect upwards of 8 million households.
Trump's announcement comes as a number of communities and municipalities across the country have already started halting evictions during the pandemic.
"We're sort of seeing this idea of housing as a human right play out," Oakland, California, city council member Nikki Fortunato Bas told Mic earlier this week. "There are recommendations and guidelines about social distancing, self-quarantining, working from home — all of those things point to the ability to have housing stability."
Indeed, efforts to halt evictions during a time when there are fears the unemployment rate could hit an astronomical 20% have been a major feature of some Democrats' talking points for several days now. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has previously called for a "immediate moratorium" on evictions and foreclosures, while Sens. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) and Jeff Merkley (Ore.) wrote to the president on March 12 asking for the very sort of eviction and foreclosure moratorium announced Wednesday.
While Trump's order covers only houses backed by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Federal Housing Finance Agency also announced Wednesday a 60-day eviction and foreclosure suspension for homes backed by housing finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.