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Michigan United applauds state Senate’s approval of water shut off moratorium

Michigan United applauds state Senate’s approval of water shut off moratorium Further action still needed to Protect residents from eviction

By a 30-8 vote, the Michigan Senate voted last week to extend the moratorium on water shutoffs until March 31 of next year. This would codify an Executive Order that Governor Whitmer put in place in response to the Covid-19 crisis.

Preventing water shutoffs during this crisis is crucial to protect public health. But the potential for mass evictions is another looming crisis threatening public health in Michigan. The CDC eviction moratorium is set to expire at the end of December. At the same time, the Eviction Diversion Program, a rental assistance program put in place to help Michigan renters stay in their homes, will also run out of money. It is crucial that people do not face eviction in these winter months as Covid-19 cases remain at very high numbers in Michigan.

The Stout Consulting firm has been tracking eviction vulnerability through this crisis. Their November estimates for Michigan were:

  • 190,000-399,00 households are at risk of eviction.

  • $259 million - $486 million rent shortfall

  • 66,600-139,700 households facing housing disruption or eviction by January 2021 with the lifting of CDC moratorium.

Without intervention, tens of thousands of households will face eviction on January 4. Housing advocates are alarmed at potentially imminent housing/eviction crisis.

Rental assistance is crucial not just for tenants, but for the landlords, often small business owners, who rely on rent to pay their mortgage, utility, tax, and maintenance expenses.

Michigan United urges the Legislature to approve $50 million in rental assistance for Michigan residents to be added to the Eviction Diversion Program. In addition, they should impose a moratorium on evictions through April. The moratorium and rental assistance will work together to protect not only vulnerable residents but public health in Michigan overall.

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