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‘Tsunami’ of Evictions Could Make 28 Million Americans Homeless This Summer Alone

“We’re looking at 20 million to 28 million people in this moment, between now and September, facing eviction.”

Elias Marat

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(TMU) – With the pandemic continuing to sink its claws into the United States, economic conditions have also failed to improve for millions of people. As a result, nearly one-third U.S. households – representing 32 percent – have still not made their full housing payments for the month of July, according to a survey from online rental platform Apartment List.

And with public health experts warning people to continue to “Stay at Home,” the slogan is taking on a perverse new meaning as humanitarian disaster looms for some 28 million people in the U.S. who are facing eviction and homelessness in the immediate future.

About 19 percent of those surveyed were unable to make any housing payment in the first week of the month, while 13 percent paid a portion of their rent or mortgage.

The numbers represent the grim fact that for four months now, a “historically high” amount of U.S. households have been unable to pay their housing bill, either on time or in full. It also represents an increase from 30 percent in June and 31 percent in June.

According to Apartment List, those most likely to miss their payments were younger, low-income, or renters. Other experts warn that Black and Latino families face the highest risk of eviction. They also may be entering the start of a rapid and vicious cycle, the report suggests.

“Delayed payments in one month are a strong predictor for missed payments in the next,” Apartment List says. Indeed, 83 percent of households who paid the entirety of their May housing costs in a timely way did the same in June, but only 30 percent of households who were late in May did so in June.

As the economic crisis continues to spiral unabated, tens of millions of Americans continue to survive on unemployment while their economic stimulus checks have long been gone.

“The economic fallout from the pandemic does not appear on track for the quick V-shaped recovery that many had originally hoped for,” Apartment List notes.

And with unemployment benefits expiring while eviction bans and moratoriums that deferred rent payments are being lifted by local governments, experts and advocates are warning that we could see a tsunami of mass evictions across the country that exceeds anything ever seen.

Emily Benfer is the chair of the American Bar Association’s Task Force Committee on Eviction and co-creator of the COVID-19 Housing Policy Scorecard with the Eviction Lab at Princeton University. In an interview with CNBC, Benfer explained that the current public health crisis will soon see tens of millions of people losing their homes in the coming weeks.

“We have never seen this extent of eviction in such a truncated amount of time in our history,” she said. “We can expect this to increase dramatically in the coming weeks and months, especially as the limited support and intervention measures that are in place start to expire.”

“About 10 million people, over a period of years, were displaced from their homes following the foreclosure crisis in 2008,” she added.

“We’re looking at 20 million to 28 million people in this moment, between now and September, facing eviction.”

https://twitter.com/emilyabenfer/status/1281637420056879104

Legal aid groups and housing advocates are expecting an avalanche of cases as eviction moratoriums and rent deferral moratoriums have ended in quick succession. And across the country, there has been a 200 percent jump in calls to 211 call centers that refer people to social service providers, reports Yahoo! finance.

And as the moratoriums are lifted, county courts are facing hundreds, if not thousands of eviction cases flooding in – in Memphis, local county courts saw a backlog of 9,000 eviction cases when hearings resumed last month.

“In many ways, the wave has already begun. We need to work to stop it from becoming a tsunami and we’re running out of time,” said Diane Yentel, president of the National Low-Income Housing Coalition. “We’re seeing now a really frankly horrifying confluence of increasing evictions in states where new coronavirus cases are surging.” 

According to the COVID-19 Eviction Defense Project (CEDP), one in five of the 110 million Americans who rent their homes – over 20 million people – are at risk of eviction by the end of September. And these aren’t simply low-income families, but people who fell on rough times recently due to the shock of the pandemic, explains CEDP Co-Founder Zach Neumann – and the number is expected to dramatically jump when unemployment benefits run out at the end of the month.

“You have a lot of folks who had strong incomes, in a lot of cases high five-figure or low six-figure [salaries],” Neumann explained. “They didn’t have a lot of savings, lost their jobs or were furloughed, and there was not any severance attached to that, but had rents that were in line with the salaries they were earning. The client pool economically looks a lot different than it has in the past.”

In the meantime, the threat of homelessness has coincided with a dramatic spike in coronavirus infections across the U.S. South and the West, hitting struggling tenants disproportionately. And with states like Texas pausing reopening plans, evictions hearings are still proceeding – but on Zoom. As a result, tenants who lack access to technology are often robbed of their ability to flex their legal rights.

Housing advocates are urgently calling for nationwide protections in the form of a uniform eviction moratorium and federal aid through the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions or HEROES Act and the Emergency Housing Protections and Relief Act of 2020. However, the Republican-controlled Senate is expected to block both measures.

Renters across the country are also forming tenant’s unions and demanding that rent be deferred indefinitely. Some tenants, such as the Acacia Apartments residents in Denver, Colorado, are already waging a rent strike – potentially showing the how people across the country who are struggling to keep a roof over their heads plan to keep fighting even in the face of their landlords’ eviction threats.

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Pope Francis Becomes First Pope To Endorse Same-Sex Civil Unions

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Pope Francis has become the first Catholic pope to openly endorse same-sex civil unions. The comments were made in “Francesco,” a new documentary about his life that recently premiered at the Rome Film Festival.

The film features a series of new interviews where the pope discussed some of the issues that were most important to him, including the environment, poverty, racial and income inequality, and discrimination.

“Homosexual people have the right to be in a family. They are children of God. You can’t kick someone out of a family, nor make their life miserable for this. What we have to have is a civil union law; that way they are legally covered,” Francis says in the new interview.

This is not the first time that Francis has spoken on this issue, but it is the first time that he has publicly discussed it as a sitting pope. When he was serving as archbishop of Buenos Aires, he endorsed civil unions for gay couples as an alternative to same-sex marriages. Francis is now the first pope to advocate same-sex civil unions.

The Rev. James Martin, who advocates for LGBT Catholics, praised the comments as “a major step forward in the church’s support for LGBT people.”

“The pope’s speaking positively about civil unions also sends a strong message to places where the church has opposed such laws,” Martin said in a statement, according to the Associated Press.

Of course, there are also plenty of more conservative leaders in the Catholic Church who were critical of the pope’s comments.

Ed Mechmann, director of public policy at the Archdiocese of New York, said in a blog post that the pope has “made a serious mistake.”

It is also important to note the distinction between same-sex civil union and marriage. Marriage is seen as an institution of the church, although it is a tradition that has been practiced under a variety of different religions.

Fewer people these days are identifying as religious, and even fewer as catholic, but many still get married in churches out of a sense of tradition. Some of the more conservative churches still want to refuse to formally recognize a same-sex civil union as a “marriage,” and wish to separate these into two classifications.

For most people, equality under the law and legal recognition of the union is what is most important, but recognition by the church will still be important for members of the LGBT community who identify as catholic.

Francis DeBernardo, executive director of New Ways Ministry, an organization of LGBT Catholics, said that the pope’s comments are “historic.”

“At the same time, we urge Pope Francis to apply the same kind of reasoning to recognize and bless these same unions of love and support within the Catholic Church, too,” he said in a statement.

Francis is the first Jesuit pope, the first from the Americas, the first from the Southern Hemisphere, and the first pope from outside Europe since the Syrian Gregory III, who reigned in the 8th century.

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Man Tried To Steal Every Newspaper In Town To Hide Story About Him Stealing Election Signs

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It was like something out of a movie or a cartoon. An Iowa man attempted to steal every newspaper in his small town, just so his neighbors couldn’t see that he was listed in the police blotter for stealing election signs. Unfortunately for him, his outrageous plot to cover up his local act of election interference backfired, because the case ended up making national headlines.  

Peter De Yager got a small mention in the September 2nd edition of the Dickinson County News and he wasn’t happy about it. De Yager had recently pleaded guilty to stealing a Joe Biden election sign from a neighbors yard, so his name was listed in the crime roundup section of the paper. Just three sentences were dedicated to De Yager on the third page of the paper, but he seemed determined to keep news of his arrest private. 

After the issue featuring De Yager was released, the staff at Dickinson County News began getting reports that entire stacks of papers had gone missing from numerous locations around town.

Dickinson County News staff writer Seth Boyes told As It Happens guest host Peter Armstrong that a delivery driver was the first to notice that something was wrong.

“He told us that there were no papers anywhere along his route that day. And he also happened to mention that there was one location, at least, that told him they had some footage of a guy stealing all the papers on their on their security cameras. So from that point, I started making some calls,” Boyes said.

De Yager is a well-known businessman in the area, and a regular customer at many of the stores that he stole from, so he was identified immediately. In fact, one of the store owners recognized De Yager and didn’t even call the police, but just confronted him the next time that he came into the store. 

Boyes said the staff at the newspaper also figured things out pretty quickly.

“I got to thinking about why anyone would want to take all the papers. And it did occur to me that we’d run that police blotter, what we call the Sirens, in that week’s edition. It was kind of a long shot, we thought, but, you know, maybe it was,” he said.

As Boyes pointed out, most news is distributed on the internet these days, and print editions are more commonly sent to the homes of subscribers.

“The paper is not only available online, but subscribers get the paper directly mailed to the residents. So stealing papers out of the racks is going to have an effect, but not as large an effect as one would think,” Boyes said.

Only one of the stores, a Jiffy station, decided to press charges, while the other locally-owned stores simply accepted an apology and a repayment. 

“We went around to the various convenience stores, and some of them opted not to press charges if he agreed to come in and pay for the papers,” Spirit Lake Police Lt. Daren Diers said.

De Yager pleaded guilty to theft and trespassing for taking about $20 worth of newspapers from the Jiffy gas station, and has paid the other convenience stores back for the papers that were taken.

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Rudy Giuliani Caught With Hands In Pants In Hotel Room Scene With “Borat’s Daughter” In New Film

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Rudy Giuliani is among the high profile figures who were pranked for Sasha Baron Cohen’s new Borat sequel, and so far his encounter is the most embarrassing. Cohen and Maria Bakalova, the actress who portrays Borat’s daughter in the film, brought Giuliani into their prank by posing as conservative TV journalists.

They conducted an interview with Giuliani where they were extremely agreeable and after the interview, Bakalova went back to a nearby hotel room with him for a drink. The room was rigged with hidden cameras, which recorded Giuliani untucking his shirt and reaching into his pants.

Once he began to reach into his pants, Borat runs into the room and shouts, “She’s 15. She’s too old for you.”

Just after the incident, Giuliani called New York City police to report the incident, claiming that he was the victim of a scam or a set up.

Giuliani described the encounter to the New York Post, saying that, “This guy comes running in, wearing a crazy, what I would say was a pink transgender outfit. It was a pink bikini, with lace, underneath a translucent mesh top, it looked absurd. He had the beard, bare legs, and wasn’t what I would call distractingly attractive. This person comes in yelling and screaming, and I thought this must be a scam or a shakedown, so I reported it to the police. He then ran away.”

Giuliani said that he later realized that it was Sacha Baron Cohen and was relieved that he didn’t fall for their prank, although he seems to be the only one that thinks that.

“I thought about all the people he previously fooled and I felt good about myself because he didn’t get me,” he said.

Of course, the encounter made Giuliani look very creepy, but no laws were technically broken because Bakalova is 24-years-old and initiated the encounter. They were also interrupted before Giuliani got the chance to do anything illegal.

The plot of the new film revolves around Borat’s quest to give his daughter to a powerful US politician as a gift. As with the last film, Borat encounters a variety of different Americans in his travels, and their interactions are intended to illustrate a sort of culture shock that he is experiencing, while also satirizing the cultures of both America and Kazakstan.

However, due to the overwhelming success of the first film, Borat’s face was very easy to recognize for most of the people who he attempted to prank, so he needed to get creative and don disguises so his targets would feel more comfortable and let their guard down.

In one scene, he wears a very realistic Donald Trump disguise and crashes the American Conservative Union’s Conservative Political Action Conference, while Mike Pence is giving a speech.

In the scene, which is shown in the trailer, Cohen is seen running through the conservative convention wearing the Trump mask, and carrying an unconscious woman over his shoulder. He bursts into the room where Pence is speaking and shouts “Micheal Paenis I brought that girl or you.” Mike Pence looked directly into the crowd, glaring at Cohen.

The new film will be available to stream for Amazon Prime subscribers on Oct. 23.

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