As Delta Variant Spreads, Eviction Moratorium Ends, Potentially Leading to Millions of Evictions

From a member of the National Revolution Tour



At midnight on August 1, 2021, a federal moratorium (ban) on evictions, issued by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) last year, ended. At least 10 million people in the United States live in households that are currently behind on rent, and millions of them could face eviction through the month of August, absent interventions from the state or federal government. This comes as the COVID-19 Delta variant is spreading exponentially, affecting every part of the country, and compelling the CDC to reinstate mask requirements, even for those who have been vaccinated (in some circumstances, such as in indoor spaces in areas with high community spread)1.

The Biden/Harris administration has been adamant on ending the moratorium, and any effort to maintain it by the CDC itself was hamstrung by a June 29 Supreme Court decision2 that included language maintaining that only through an act of Congress could the moratorium be legally extended past July 31. Biden waited until July 29 to ask Congress to extend the moratorium, despite being aware of his administration’s inability to unilaterally grant an extension for 30 days (!), and also knowing full well that this left less than 48 hours to draft, and then pass legislation doing so through both houses of Congress—something that would be difficult to do even without Republi-fascist obstruction. Predictably, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi could not marshal enough votes from conservative Democrats to pass an extension, and almost immediately thereafter the House adjourned for a six week vacation, allowing it to expire. Now Biden is focusing efforts on disbursing federal rent relief funds through the states—an effort which has seen little success so far3, in no small part due to “uncooperative” state governments controlled by the Republi-fascists, who have no qualms about unleashing further suffering on masses of people, and have a particular interest in sabotaging Biden.

The CDC moratorium, first issued last September (2020), did not include provisions for rent forgiveness, and did not prohibit landlords from charging late fees to renters4. Months of missed rent payments and late fees are now due for millions of people covered by the moratorium, as of August 1. This will all hit the most vulnerable and oppressed sections of the population the hardest, including the unemployed, disabled people and those with serious health problems, Black people, and other minorities.

As wrote last year,

Homelessness and evictions are one of the most prominent features of capitalism-imperialism’s grip on the entire planet. Globally, at least 150 million people are completely homeless, and experts estimate that 1.6 billion people—more than 20 percent of the world’s population, are “housing insufficient.” Within the U.S., almost 600,000 people were homeless before the virus hit. Homeless encampments are a commonplace sight in virtually every city in the country.


Decent, livable housing is a basic human need. But as Bob Avakian breaks down in his article “‘Preliminary Transformation Into Capital’ ... and Putting an End to Capitalism,” under the system of capitalism-imperialism, human need is subordinated to the need of capitalists to make investments they think have the greatest likelihood of not only returning their initial investment but making a profit on it.

As we see the likely increase in evictions this month, with all the suffering and further spread of the deadly virus that will accompany this, we must keep in mind that this is a crime: a social crime OF THIS SYSTEM against the masses of people. And we need to keep in mind that this doesn’t have to be this way.

We need a society and world where this is NOT what goes on—where the rights of the masses of people to have decent housing, without the fear of being evicted, counts for more than the rights of some people to own properties—where major landlords and property owning corporations do not hold the power of life or death over millions of people—where housing is NOT a commodity (something produced to be sold) but is built and distributed on the basis of need, in line with a rationally planned economy meeting the needs of the people as a whole.


1. CDC urges vaccinated people in covid hot spots to resume wearing masks indoors, Washington Post, July 28, 2021 [back]

2. Supreme Court allows coronavirus eviction moratorium to remain in place, CNN, June 29, 2021 [back]

3. Eviction Freeze Set to Lapse as Biden Housing Aid Effort Lags, New York Times, August 1, 2021 [back]

4. CDC issues federal eviction moratorium through end of year, Leading Age, September 1, 2020 [back]



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