Federal Judge Dabney Friedrich struck down on Wednesday the national eviction moratorium, potentially leaving millions of Americans at risk of losing their homes.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has banned most evictions across the country since September. President Joe Biden extended that protection to renters until July.
Some 1 in 5 renters across the U.S. are behind on their payments amid the pandemic, and states are scrambling to disburse more than $45 billion in rental assistance.
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Housing advocates have said that the national ban is necessary to stave off an unprecedented displacement of Americans, which could worsen the pandemic just as the country is turning a corner.
At least two federal judges have questioned the CDC’s power to ban evictions. And property owners have criticized the policy and say landlords can’t afford to continue housing people for free.
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