By Abayomi Azikiwe
Since March of this year the United States has been plunged into the worst outbreak of an infectious viral disease since the influenza pandemic of 1918-1920.
The impact of the COVID-19 outbreaks beginning in February and March has resulted in the closure of many production and service facilities throughout the country. Consequently, these events have rendered millions of workers unemployed.
Hospitals and educational institutions are overburdened with the novel virus since it presents profound challenges on how to address the disease through healthcare and the necessity of the resumption of courses whether held in-person or online. Absent of a vaccine and effective treatment, public apprehension related to the resumption of large gatherings whether in the workplace, schools, sports, entertainment and lodging will hamper the ability of millions of working people to earn a living.
Without jobs households will be unable to pay their rents, mortgages and property taxes placing them in foreclosure and evictions statuses. These inevitable consequences of high levels of joblessness are already being witnessed around the U.S.
The Cares Act passed in March by both the House of Representatives and the Senate and later signed by President Donald Trump which was implemented purportedly to assist businesses, institutions and working families, in reality provided the bulk of this public funding to ruling class interests such as multinational corporations, banks and allied groupings. The one-time payment of $1,200 per person and even lesser amounts for those designated as dependents, was also bolstered by an enhanced payment of $600 per week for the unemployed.
However, the Senate rejected the proposed Heroes Act which would have granted additional assistance over an extended period of time. In addition, a renewal of the Cares Act has not materialized after the collapse of negotiations between the Democratic-dominated House and the Republican majority Senate. Trump’s executive orders related to COVID-19 assistance declared on August 7, raises more questions than answers since the already beleaguered state governments are required to provide a percentage of the resources needed to restore only $400 in jobless benefits, a slashing of enhanced benefits by one-third….
…. The Moratorium NOW! Coalition and other anti-eviction organizations are planning actions to demand the re-enactment of the statewide moratorium. The Chief Judge of 36th District Court imposed a moratorium covering the Detroit area, the largest municipality in Michigan which is set to expire on August 17 with the re-opening of the in-house legal proceedings downtown.
Eviction crisis has been a longterm problem in Detroit where this demonstration was held during 2016.