CNBC shared the story of what happened when Victor Washington fell nearly four months behind on his rent last fall and winter. He had health issues that caused him to use up his paid sick days, and was forced to take unpaid leave when got COVID soon after.
In response to this unfortunately not uncommon pandemic experience, his Minneapolis landlord Andrea Sorum took a very different approach, fundraising within her own social networks to cover Washington’s rental fees — rather than evicting him.
“I have a hard time understanding why these big corporate landlords with lots of property can’t afford to float someone for a few months,” she said. “I’m a single mom and I’m making it work.”
CNBC reported that “since the CDC ban went into effect, Jim Baker, executive director of the Private Equity Stakeholder Project, has counted close to 50,000 new eviction cases filed by corporate landlords in Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Nevada, Tennessee and Texas alone. During the same period, The Eviction Lab at Princeton University has identified more than 180,000 evictions in the five states and 19 cities that it tracks.”
Black renters have faced a disproportionate number of these eviction filings, the lab has found. In the areas they’ve studied, around 20% of renters are Black, and yet closer to 35% of the eviction filings were against Black tenants.
“The pandemic has only exacerbated existing inequalities in eviction,” said Emily Benfer, a visiting law professor at Wake Forest University.
Sorum told CNBC, “I’m a white person, and there’s generational wealth. I have access to help when I need it outside of government services. I’ve always had people come and pull me up, and that’s what everyone deserves. We say ‘Black lives matter,’ but we have to take it further.”