Public health experts predict the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic will include the mass evictions of as many as one million people who rent their homes.
The implications of that people potentially becoming homeless, with cities already struggling to contain the spread of the virus, could be devastating, says Johns Hopkins University sociologist Meredith Greif, who an expert in homelessness and housing insecurity.
Though such evictions have already begun for people who’ve experienced job loss and cuts in hours that make it hard to pay the rent. People who get sick are also losing critical work hours, if not their jobs, trying to follow quarantine recommendations. And, Greif says, if any family member contracts the virus, it can also culminate in an eviction if someone needs to take time off from work to care for them, or has to quarantine because of exposure.
Greif says the true toll of evictions could be hidden for a while, as eviction moratoriums expire and court challenges play out.
“The eviction numbers on the ground are devastating,” she says, “but for various reasons there's probably a lot more to come.”