The Aspen Institute estimates that 44,000-62,000 Rhode Island households, meaning 100,000-142,000 individual Rhode Islanders, “could be at risk of eviction in the next several months.” That’s between 28% and 42% of Rhode Island’s population…
On Wednesday Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo said that she is reconsidering the idea of an eviction moratorium in Rhode Island.
“I’m going to give Congress another week or so, and see if hey can get together and pass a bill,” said Raimondo. “There seems to be broad support or eviction relief, even President Trump wrote a memo suggestion we should do something. So, if in a week or two [Congress] hasn’t taken action, I’m going to have to consider something.
“Here’s the thing. It’s all connected,” continued the Governor. “If the $600 goes away, and we have an eviction crisis, and I have 1000-3000 people who are homeless, that’s a real problem.
“Obviously it’s a problem for them because they’re homeless, it’s a problem because we have a disease which flourishes unless people quarantine. So I’m going to see what happens in Congress and I am reassessing my executive abilities – and also go to the legislature, because we may have an emergency situation if the $600 goes away and I have a lot of people becoming homeless.”
First of all, that $600 has already gone away. But additionally, Governor Raimondo’s estimate of 1000-3000 people may be overly optimistic.
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The Aspen Institute estimates that 44,000-62,000 Rhode Island households, meaning 100,000-142,000 individual Rhode Islanders, “could be at risk of eviction in the next several months.” That’s between 28% and 42% of Rhode Island’s population. And nationwide, the numbers are similar.
As the Aspen Institute explains, the housing crisis was underway long before COVID-19.
“When the pandemic began, 10.9 million renter households (25% of all renter households) were spending over 50% of their income on rent each month. The majority of renter households below the poverty line spent at least half of their income towards rent in 2018, with one in four spending over 70% of their income toward housing costs.”
Providence has the 75th highest eviction rank among cities in the United States, 3.82% according to The Eviction Lab.
Governor Raimondo often says that the pandemic has exposed the deep economic and racial inequities afflicting both Rhode Island and the United States, but the truth is these inequities have always been glaringly obvious.
Before Covid, the existence of homelessness didn’t threaten the existence of those able to afford their homes. Now, homelessness is a “real problem.”
As the Governor said, “Obviously it’s a problem for them because they’re homeless, it’s a problem because we have a disease which flourishes unless people quarantine.”