CDC extends eviction moratorium to July 31
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday announced it has approved a 30-day extension to the eviction moratorium , prohibiting the eviction of renters who are unable to make payments more than one year after the COVID-19 pandemic took hold of the country.
The CDC said Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky has signed an extension to the eviction moratorium, which was set to expire on June 30, 2021, through July 31, 2021.
It's intended to be the final extension of the moratorium, according to a release from the CDC.MORE: Progressive lawmakers urge extension of eviction moratorium
"The COVID-19 pandemic has presented a historic threat to the nation's public health . Keeping people in their homes and out of crowded or congregate settings — like homeless shelters — by preventing evictions is a key step in helping to stop the spread of COVID-19," the release said.
The White House also announced it would be extending the foreclosure moratorium for federally backed mortgages by a final month, until July 31.
The extensions come after several leading progressive Democrats on Capitol Hill urged the White House and CDC to extend and strengthen the federal eviction moratorium. In a letter sent late Monday, 44 House Democrats including Reps. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., Cori Bush, D-Mo., Jimmy Gomez, D-Calif., and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y. called on President Joe Biden and the CDC to take action against the looming deadline.
"Allowing the moratorium to expire before vaccination rates increase in marginalized communities could lead to increased spread of, and deaths from, COVID-19," their letter read.MORE: 'Impending wave of evictions' looms as pandemic moratorium nears expiration, Harvard study warns
The National Low Income Housing Coalition, a non-profit focused on affordable housing, applauded the decision and what it called activation of a "whole-of-government approach" the administration is implementing.
"These actions from the White House extend an essential lifeline to millions of renters who remain behind on rent and would be at heightened risk of eviction when the moratorium expires," the organization said in a statement.MORE: California proposal aims to pay all overdue rent for low-income tenants impacted by the pandemic
In addition to extending the moratoriums, the White House confirmed it is convening a summit of local teams to develop eviction-prevention action plans, issuing new guidance from Treasury for the Emergency Rental Assistance, or ERA, instructing the Department of Justice to send guidance on anti-eviction diversion practices, and raising awareness across agencies about emergency rental assistance, among other measures.
"One of the things we recognized in getting out the funding in when you're dealing in a post moratorium world, is that there must be in place at state and local levels, anti-eviction diversionary policies, policies that discourage or rush to evictions and encourage mediations encourage people to use the funds $46 billion that is in the emergency rental assistance," a White House official said.
According to the Census Bureau more than 7 million American households are behind on their rent, including nearly 4 million with children. Black and Latino households are more likely than white households to be behind and currently struggling, according to the Census Bureau.MORE: CDC extends eviction moratorium until late June
To be eligible for the protection, renters can earn no more than $99,000 in annual income for the calendar year of 2020-2021 or $198,000 in annual income for couples who file jointly, among other declarations of hardship to the government.
The moratorium has been repeatedly challenged in court by local governments and landlord associations, which have argued the CDC overstepped its authority and does not have a mechanism for enforcing the rule. Still, more than 20 state attorneys general urged the Supreme Court earlier this month to keep the moratorium in place while those cases make their way through the courts. Local property owners and a group of real estate agents in Alabama have said the halt will "prolong the severe financial burdens" on those collecting rent payments.
ABC News' Mary Alice Parks, Stephanie Ebbs, Molly Nagle and Sasha Pezenik contributed to this report.