Letter: Not the time for Scrooge, Congress
Nationwide, we are in the midst of a rolling crisis that is placing 30 to 40 million renters at risk of losing their homes when the Center for Disease Control (CDC) moratorium on evictions ends December 31.
A recent Grand Forks Herald article reports that Gov. Doug Burgum's focus "is now on the future." Let's hope that the new year will not be a repeat of the past. The spread of the pandemic in North Dakota has merited feature articles in national publications such as The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, to name just two, as well as international coverage on the BBC. Considering what the past year has wrought, leadership needs to not only get COVID-19 under control, but also should address the economic woes of lower income Americans.
Nationwide, we are in the midst of a rolling crisis that is placing 30 to 40 million renters at risk of losing their homes when the Center for Disease Control (CDC) moratorium on evictions ends December 31. Quite the way to say, "Happy New Year!" Back rents now total somewhere between $34 billion and $70 billion, leaving renters hovering on the edge of a financial cliff. We must prevent these renters from being forced from their homes at the end of December.
Fortunately, a bipartisan plan now being developed at the federal level would allocate 25 billion for emergency rental assistance and a one-month extension of the federal eviction moratorium issued by the CDC. This would provide short term relief. After the new year Congress can devise a more long term solution. I ask Senators John Hoeven and Kevin Cramer to support this relief package so our most vulnerable citizens can weather the pandemic without being cast into homelessness.
In the midst of our traditional season of giving and goodwill, protests that we cannot afford such expenditures sound painfully short-sighted. To do right by everyone, we cannot afford not to fully address this crisis. This is no time for Congress to play Scrooge.
Kathleen Ness, Grand Forks