New Orleans orders court employees to get vaccinated for flood of eviction cases after moratorium expires

New Orleans orders court employees to get vaccinated for flood of eviction cases after moratorium expires
Officials in Louisiana are worried the evictions will causes hundreds to lose their home and make the state’s Covid surge even worse

The reality is setting in: after Congress and the White House let the coronavirus eviction moratorium expire last week, cities across the country are preparing for a flood of people being kicked out of their homes.

In New Orleans, Louisiana court employees were told for the first time that they had to be vaccinated to come into work, given the expected high caseload of evictions that will likely hit the city in coming weeks, WDSU reports.

“All full-time and reserve deputies must meet this vaccination mandate by August 16,” Constabl Edwin M. Shorty Jr., said on Monday. “Officials said vaccination rates among law enforcement entities are high, but it has not been mandatory in the past.”

Officials in the city expect hundreds of tenants to be displaced in the coming days, which will only worsen the state’s outbreak, which Louisiana governor John Bel Edwards has described as the “worst surge so far” while instituting a reinstated mask mandate.

Louisiana’s state eviction ban was in place between April and June of 2020, and research 暗示 its expiration that summer contributed to 30,000 Covid cases and almost 1,000 死亡人数, as displaced people were out on the street, sharing crowded homes with family and friends, or staying in homeless shelters.

迄今为止, like much of the rest of the country, the state has been slow to hand out federal aid for housing security. It has received $308 million from Congress already, with more money set to come in from President Joe Biden’s coronavirus relief package, but so far, Louisiana has only paid out about $18.5 million dollars to hard-hit tenants.

几乎 24,000 people have started applications for the aid, with just over 3,000 of those being approved.

“I think it is a dereliction of government’s duty to let landlords put people on the street when there is money on the table to help them,” Cashauna Hill, executive director of the Louisiana Fair Housing Action Center, told the Associated Press. “We need to adjust the timelines to end the moratorium until there’s been enough time to distribute the money.”

Congressional Democrats and the White House have both said it was each other’s responsibility to renew the eviction moratorium, after the Supreme Court in June held in a split decision that the CDC needed clear congressional authorisation to continue extending the eviction ban.

The White House has vowed to “keep pushing” to find a way to revive the policy, although it has also stated it doesn’t believe the president has the authority to do it alone, and the CDC has held much the same about itself.

“I don’t think this means this president is going to give up,” Gene Sperling, the White House official responsible for managing coronavirus relief efforts, said recently. “I think he’s going to keep looking, keep pushing.”

Whoever ultimately makes the call, their decision carries enormous weight; 多于 11 million people are estimated to be behind on their rent across the country, with the eviction moratorium sometimes the only thing keeping them in their homes.

As the policy expired on Saturday, progressive lawmakers camped out on the steps of the Capitol to highlight the need for a new moratorium.

“This court order came down on the White House a month ago, and the White House waited until the day before the House adjourned to release a statement asking Congress to extend the moratorium,” representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York told CNN on Sunday.

Experts and landlords alike say the moratorium isn’t the only way people could’ve stayed in their homes. The Trump and Biden administration approved more than $46 billion in pandemic aid to tenants, but less than 10 per cent of those funds have been distributed, as aid programmes get bogged down in clunky state and local partnerships, outdated technical systems, and onerous bureaucracy. Some places, like New York state, haven’t distributed any of the aid.

“The blame for this sad situation is widely shared,” William A Galston of the Brookings Institutions governance studies program wrote in the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday.

“Months ago, Congress could have provided the executive branch with the clear legal authority the Supreme Court is now requiring. States and localities could have designed simpler, more efficient ways of carrying out the clear intent of Congress. And the Biden administration should have responded sooner to mounting evidence that state and local plans were not working.”

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