With less than a week until the federal eviction moratorium is set to expire, some 40 percent of Georgia renters worry they could soon be out on the streets.
That’s according to a new report by QuoteWizard, an online insurance comparison marketplace, which analyzed data from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) surveys. The research indicates Georgia could be facing one of the worst eviction crises in the country.
Georgians’ fear of displacement — that they could be evicted at some point in the next two months — is nearly the worst in the country, topped only by Alabamans’. According to the report, more than 44 percent of Alabama renters are concerned they could be forced out of their homes soon after the eviction moratorium expires.
The report also paints a grim picture of the future, at a time when a new strain of the novel coronavirus is threatening another surge of infections that could once again force businesses around the country to shutter.
“The economic side effects of the pandemic are far from over,” Nick VinZant, QuoteWizard’s senior research analyst, said in an interview with Atlanta Civic Circle.
It’s important to note, though, that the CDC data is based on how people feel about their ability to pay rent, not eviction filings currently pending in state or magistrate courts, VinZant said. Essentially, don’t expect Georgia’s 40 percent to spike once the eviction ban is lifted, and don’t expect every landlord-tenant case to ultimately result in an eviction.
Still, the research illustrates an issue that’s been constant throughout the pandemic — that people of color are more severely afflicted by COVID-19, medically and financially.
“When we looked at Georgia,” VinZant said, “we found that communities of color have been ever more affected than other states nationwide”
In Georgia, 76 percent of Hispanic renters and 37 percent of Black renters worry they’re at risk of being evicted. Thirty-two percent of white renters have the same concern.
These problems have no doubt been exacerbated by drastic rises in housing costs, which have far outpaced wage increases, VinZant noted.
In some parts of metro Atlanta, for instance, renters need to earn nearly five times the minimum wage in order to afford a basic two-bedroom apartment, Atlanta Civic Circle reported last week.
Like many housing policy experts, VinZant said, “There just has to be more affordable housing.” Without it, “I don’t really see that this crisis is going to change. People are going to be suffering for years.”