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You Don’t Have To Go Home, But . . .

So everyday, the Delta variant has asked us repeatedly to “put some ‘respeck’ on her name.” Yet, we continuously underestimate her.  And the White House and CDC change their minds with the wind. This has caused many Americans to be confused and skeptical of public health advice. My advice (not that you asked but here it go): just go back to the height of pandemic protocols and be done. Give me six feet, masks, frequent cleaning and no unnecessary gatherings. While I believe this country will never shut down again (economics) it doesn’t mean that other precautions should not be in place. And some places are taking notes:  Louisiana and San Francisco have reinstated indoor mask mandates. Mayor Bill de Blasio urges New Yorkers to wear masks indoors and seventy percent of U.S. adults have received at least one vaccine dose. You should protect yourself and your loved ones. I think most of us can, at least, agree on that. 

Let’s visit Tokyo for a second.  First, Simone Biles jumped on a balance beam and left with a bronze medal. Because she got it like that! Congratulations Simone! But in other Tokyo news:  Krystsina Tsimanouskaya, an Olympic sprinter was granted a humanitarian visa from Poland. She was scheduled to represent Belarus in the 200-meter race but she went to the Japanese police instead and asked for protection. Tsimanouskaya said her team tried to force her on a place back to Belarus after she criticized her coaches for entering her to compete in a 4×400-meter relay. They tried to enter her despite the fact that she had not trained for that race. Tsimanouskaya said the head coach removed her because of orders from above, but The Belarusian Olympic Committee said Tsimanouskaya was pulled because of her “emotional and psychological state.” The other crazy part is that the Belarusian Olympic Committee is run by President Alexander Lukashenko’s son and Lukashenko does not tolerate negative remarks of any kind from anyone. In fact, earlier this year tens of thousands of protesters tried to oust Lukashenko over what they called a rigged election. Some of those protesters included athletes were jailed or reportedly cut from national teams.

Get Out

This weekend saw the end of the federal eviction moratorium. “More than 15 million people live in households that owe as much as $20 billion to their landlords, according to the Aspen Institute. As of July 5, roughly 3.6 million people in the U.S. said they faced eviction in the next two months, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey.” AP News: Landlords, tenants fill courts as eviction moratorium ends

But what actually happens to delinquent renters varies from state to state. For starters, if you live in state with no COVID-19  protections eviction could start immediately depending on the local court system. Also, part of it is a popularity contest; if you and the landlord have been going back and forth during this moratorium, you can expect to be first on the chopping block. Also, if you are several months behind or have a highly desirable unit, meaning easily re-rented, you too will be a priority for the landlord. 

As far as renter’s rights: Renters will go back to the rights they had before unless otherwise provided for. Washington Post reports,  “Tenants of single-family homes financed by the federal government, specifically the departments of Housing and Urban Development, Agriculture, and Veterans Affairs, are still protected through Sept. 30. And tenants in nine states and D.C. will still have some covid protections that run into August. They are: California, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Oregon and Washington.”

The good news: it takes more than a word to kick a tenant out, the landlord still has to go through the court system’s eviction process. However, this can happen fast. So do NOT ignore notices. At a minimum you should show up to the hearing and plead your case. If you are not there, you will definitely be evicted.  Also renters can contact the nonprofits like Legal Services Corp. at lsc.gov, which can help you find a local legal aid organization. Washington Post: The eviction moratorium has ended. Here’s what renters need to know. The White House is looking for solutions to stop these evictions. President Biden is asking federal agencies if there are new options and asking courts hold off on eviction proceedings. The White also wants states and local governments to speed up the distribution of the COVID relief emergency funds. 

Here’s my issue with the feds, you all set the date, so don’t act brand new after its expiration. You knew this day was coming. Landlords have been telling you for months what they were going to do. So this just sounds like lip service at this point. This was always going to end up like this, with millions behind on rent with no way to pay and with landlord wanting/needing to have the rental income. This is such a foreseeable s**t show. Yet, there is no plan to help these people. Pelosi and other House Democrats have just suggested extending the moratorium, but to what end? What is the plan to fix this? They don’t have one. Unfortunately and predictably, the burden of this will fall on those that are already hurting.

Make it Rain

The Washington Post found colleges across the country are using pandemic funds to help students. “Some are small private institutions like Trinity College, which is providing a clean slate to nearly 400 undergrads owing more than $1.8 million. Others are large public systems like the City University of New York, where at least 50,000 students will have up to $125 million in past-due bills forgiven. At least two dozen of the schools identified are historically Black institutions, including Norfolk State University in Virginia and Tougaloo College in Mississippi. Another 18 are Tribal institutions, such as Little Big Horn College in Montana and Northwest Indian College in Washington.”  There are also community colleges that are doing this as well. You might be wondering how they are able to do this, but these students can thank the three rounds of federal stimulus dollars. Congress passed a total of $76.2 billion  for colleges and universities. But as is often commonplace with the federal government they were loose on instructions. There was “inconsistent and unclear guidance from the Education Department on how to spend the money [which] created confusion in the initial rollout, but the agency has since clarified the parameters of the funding.”

In March, the Biden administration said colleges, with a student’s consent, could use grants to pay off outstanding balances dating back to March 13, 2020 — when President Donald Trump declared a national emergency. Washington Post: ‘I wasn’t expecting this’: Colleges using pandemic funds to clear outstanding student balances Congrats to these students, kind of wish the pandemic was “x” number of years ago so I could have had this. (No need to date myself)

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