Study: Ending an eviction moratorium increases Covid-19 hazard

Results show infection rates increase across communities; individuals in low-income areas and those in poor health are at highest risk.

Ending an eviction moratorium for renters makes people in a community significantly more likely to contract Covid-19, according to a new study co-authored by MIT researchers.

The study uses the variable timing of state-level moratoriums, issued and terminated at different points during the Covid-19 pandemic, to quantify their effect. It is the first study to identify the individual-level risk for people in different social circumstances, due to eviction moratoriums ending. The increased risk runs throughout communities, the research shows, meaning that ending eviction moratoriums does not just affect those who lose their housing.

Eviction moratoriums have been used to protect renters in danger of losing their housing at a time of economic strain caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. The study shows that, on average, when a state lifted its moratorium and let evictions resume, the hazard of contracting Covid-19 was 1.39 times greater after five weeks and 1.83 times greater after 12 weeks, rather than if the moratorium had continued.

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