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Testimony: Roundtable Examining the District’s Legislative Prohibition on Evictions During the COVID-19 Pandemic

February 4, 2021

Senior Supervising Attorney Kathy Zeisel testified at the Joint Roundtable Examining the District’s Legislative Prohibition on Evictions During the COVID-19 Pandemic to highlight how the moratorium on evictions is reducing the spread of COVID-19, ensuring stable and healthy housing, and creating education stability during the pandemic.

DC’s moratorium on evictions is helping to stop the spread of COVID-19 among children and families who are disproportionately bearing the heaviest burdens of COVID-19. It also is stabilizing the school situation for students who are doing virtual learning. Attempting to do virtual learning while trying to find stable housing would be a nearly insurmountable challenge for most families.

Discontinuing the moratorium could significantly increase community spread as tenants move to new neighborhoods or house to house in search of stable housing while also destabilizing the education of the children. For many of our clients, even getting stable internet set up has been a challenge, and getting evicted would mean losing meaningful access to their child’s education.

Thanks to the moratorium, we have been able to help families fix unhealthy housing condiditions without them worrying about a retaliatory eviction. And, thanks to the new flexibility with and increased funds in ERAP and CHAP, there may be money available to help them. The moratorium is allowing these families to have not just stable housing, but stable and healthy housing where their children can do their virtual school without fear of having to go to the emergency department for an asthma attack.