the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist
“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx
Aug 2, 2021
At the end of July, millions of renters faced immediate eviction because the federal moratorium against eviction under the Covid pandemic has expired. The president says there is nothing he can do, putting the blame on Congress.
There is a critical lack of affordable housing in this country, which was a problem long before Covid appeared. During the pandemic, Congress promised 47 billion dollars in rental assistance. How much of it got to renters? THREE billion dollars. Just like the unemployment crisis, there were never enough people hired to answer questions or to help people with confusing paperwork, and there was a lack of Internet access or computers.
This 47 billion may sound like a lot but it is only a bandaid on a cancer. Renters were given a reprieve from paying their rent, but the rent was not wiped out. It is still owed. Meanwhile big owners of property, even some small landlords, got enormous loans or outright grants of money, thanks to the way Congress wrote the rules of the pandemic to ensure that the lords of the housing industry retained and gained wealth. They got richer during the pandemic while almost as many people were laid off as in the Great Depression, at some points.
Some 43 million adults are renting apartments or houses in the U.S. and about a quarter of them are considered low income.
Right now the federal definition of poverty level income is $26,500 or less for a family of four. The number of people receiving vouchers for housing due to low income is about two million. But in reality close to four million are likely facing eviction with no possibility of finding housing in their area that they can afford.
In California, an estimated 1.3 million renters are at or below the poverty level and cannot afford the average of $80,000 per year income needed to rent a two-bedroom apartment. In Georgia about 330,000 people are at or below the poverty level and cannot afford the average of $40,000 per year income needed to rent a two-bedroom apartment. In Maryland, about 200,000 renters are at or below the poverty level and cannot afford the average of $60,000 per year income needed to rent a two-bedroom apartment.
Human beings need shelter and food, and much more, all of which must be paid for with money earned. Yet even in the richest country on this planet, millions are made desperate. They may be among the millions out of work during the pandemic or they may be among the millions who actually work but don’t make enough money to pay for food and shelter.
It’s a disgusting indictment of this capitalist system.