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Nevada Renters 2nd Most Vulnerable to Pandemic-Related Evictions

Prior to the coronavirus pandemic 1 in 4 U.S. renters was spending more than half his or her income on housing, according to the Aspen Institute. (Tumisu/Pixbay)
Prior to the coronavirus pandemic 1 in 4 U.S. renters was spending more than half his or her income on housing, according to the Aspen Institute. (Tumisu/Pixbay)
August 10, 2020

LAS VEGAS -- About one-third of all Americans rent their homes. And a new report from the Aspen Institute shows the pandemic-related unemployment crisis could mean eviction for more than 40% of those households without additional relief measures.

Nevada is behind only Alabama among states where renters are the most vulnerable to eviction. Other top states for vulnerable renters include Oklahoma, Louisiana and New York.

Study co-author Sam Gilman, co-founder of the COVID-19 Eviction Defense Project, said the loss of housing often ushers in serious legal consequences and suffering for families.

"It leads to children not being able to go to school, homelessness, depression and diseases of despair. An eviction upends everything in a family's life," Gilman said.

Nevada has created a rent-relief program, but the state's $30 million in assistance relies entirely on federal funds, and stimulus talks have stalled in Congress.

President Donald Trump circumvented Congress on Saturday, signing executive orders he said would deliver aid to Americans, including an eviction moratorium. But it's not clear if the orders are constitutional or substantive.

The report shows 37% of Nevada renters are at risk of eviction by the end of the year if conditions don't change. Gilman said some renters will be able to borrow money or work something out with their landlord, but eventually those options will be exhausted.

"And at that point, that's when this, pick your natural-disaster metaphor - eviction avalanche, tsunami, tornado - will continue to start tearing through and accelerating through our communities," he said.

According to Gilman, it's not just renters who will be affected, but also landlords.

"Those mom and pop landlords are also severely at risk in this rental housing crisis. Because if the renters can't pay rent, landlords can't pay their mortgages, and we could see the acceleration of a rental-housing crisis into a foreclosure crisis," he said.

Gilman noted Black and Latino Americans, who already are at greater risk of COVID-19, make up about 80% of those facing eviction.

Roz Brown, Public News Service - NV