The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Eviction Moratorium Is Temporary. The Need for Housing Is Permanent

Jun 7, 2021

Millions of families will soon be facing a housing crisis. The eviction moratorium mandated by the CDC will expire on June 30. Even if the moratorium is extended, the back rent will still be owed and families will eventually face possible eviction.

The government has not provided exact statistics, but estimates by Bloomberg News and Moody’s are that between 9.4 and 11.4 million families are behind on their rent, owing an average of about $6,000 per family. And the real financial and housing crisis is even much greater than that because many families have paid their rent or mortgage payments or paid partial payments only by putting off paying other bills, or by depleting their savings, or by maxing out their credit cards, or by getting loans from friends and families, or by using their temporary stimulus checks, or all of the above. These families may also soon face a crisis and possible evictions.

When the Covid pandemic hit in 2020, over 20 million people were thrown out of work. The failure of this system and this government to responsibly deal with the virus has meant, not only millions of deaths, but also has prolonged the economic crisis. Today there are 7.6 million fewer jobs than there were in February of 2020. And this unemployment is on top of the millions of people who couldn’t find a job even before the pandemic hit. And there are many other people who still haven’t been able to work for Covid-related health or child care reasons.

This unemployment crisis, combined with the low wages of the jobs that are available, has been a financial and economic disaster for the working class. No job or no full-time job or no adequate wages means no way to keep up with the rent or to buy a house, especially as housing costs are skyrocketing. It could soon mean no place to live for many more families.

The answer to this crisis by the federal government, under both Biden and Trump, was to provide temporary stimulus checks and temporary unemployment pay, mandate an eviction moratorium that is temporary and give some temporary rental assistance that falls far short of what working people would need to catch up on their rent and all the other bills they owe.

Meanwhile, on the rich side of town, the capitalist class is not facing any such problems. The stock market keeps setting records, corporate profits are booming again, and the banks and hedge funds are awash in so much money that they are using most of it for speculation. The capitalist class is not having any problems buying or paying the rent on their mansions and their multi-million dollar condos. And this isn’t “temporary”!

In the midst of so much wealth, working people are struggling just to have a place to live. This is an indictment of an economic system that isn’t working for the working class.

Denying people a right to affordable housing is denying them the right to live. Why shouldn’t every family have the right to a decent place to live? Everything needed for decent housing is right here. There are vacant houses and unused apartments that can be fixed up; there are unused office buildings that can be converted into comfortable housing. There is unused land on which new houses and apartments can be built. And there is plenty of wealth available to pay for all this.

But this capitalist economic system, with all this wealth in the hands of a few, cannot even provide for the most basic of human needs, cannot provide decent housing for all. What the hell good is it? It is a system that needs to be gotten rid of.

Until the working class, which produces all the wealth in the society, brings itself together to get rid of this system, there will be no answer to the problems we face.