The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention signed a declaration Sept. 1 temporarily halting residential evictions nationwide through the end of the year.
The declaration signed by Dr. Robert Redfield likens moratoriums on evictions to public health measures like quarantine and social distancing because they “facilitate self-isolation by people who become ill or who are at risk for severe illness from COVID-19 due to an underlying medical condition. They also allow state and local authorities to more easily implement stay-at-home and social distancing directives to mitigate the community spread of COVID-19.”
Tenants seeking to avail themselves of the order’s protection must sign a declaration form and present it to their landlord. The declaration attests, under penalty of perjury, that the signer has used best efforts to obtain government assistance with housing, makes less than $99,000 a year ($198,000 for couples), is unable to make payments and using best efforts to partially pay, and would likely become homeless if evicted.
The CDC’s declaration states that “homelessness increases the likelihood of individuals moving into congregate settings, such as homeless shelters, which then puts individuals at higher risk to COVID-19” and “unsheltered homelessness also increases the risk that individuals will experience severe illness from COVID19.”
The order could prove a lifeline to Oregonians who might otherwise face eviction when the state’s moratorium, enacted during the June special session of the Oregon Legislature, expires Sept. 30. It’s also likely to face legal challenges, experts say, because of its unprecedented scope and reliance on a broad interpretation of the 1944 Public Health Service Act.
The declaration to present to landlords can be found at tinyurl.com/yykmp5qd.