Eviction bans can improve food security and well-being, says UCLA study. But that may go away with a new (unevenly observed) moratorium extension.
In the category of studies that tell us something obvious (but nevertheless important), a University of California at Los Angeles study found that eviction bans may improve food security and well-being, particularly among Black American renters—even in the high stress of the pandemic. For every week that a state moratorium was in place, fewer Black renting households reported not having enough to eat in the previous week. Not really a surprise when you think about it this way: When newly unemployed Americans and those living on the edge of eviction got a temporary reprieve from losing their lodgings, they could redirect scarce resources to needs other than housing. Many chose to spend that money on food and also pay down debts. Amazing how that happens: more secure housing, more food access and grocery spending, and more feelings of well-being. The researchers also reported that Google searches for “food stamps” and “food banks near me” decreased significantly during the period of state eviction moratoriums. But in the wake of a federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention eviction ban ending on Saturday, that means more stress and less food for households who now may be kicked out of their places. It’s not exactly clear what will happen next. For while the CDC issued an extension through October 3, that didn’t stop evictions from cranking up again in some cities and states.