Temporary Halt in Residential Evictions in Communities With Substantial or High Transmission of COVID-19 To Prevent the Further Spread of COVID-19, 43244-43252 [2021-16945]

Download as PDF 43244 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 149 / Friday, August 6, 2021 / Notices employing user-friendly, easily accessible web-based instruments to collect necessary information for both progress reports and continuation applications including work plans. This approach enables recipients to save pertinent information from one reporting period to the next and reduces the administrative burden on the annual continuation application and the performance monitoring process. Awardee program staff can review the Services (HHS), the White House, Congress, and other sources. Information to be collected will also strengthen CDC’s ability to monitor awardee progress, provide data-driven technical assistance, and disseminate the most current surveillance data on suicide and suicide attempts. CDC requests approval for an estimated 132 annual burden hours. There is no cost to respondents other than their time to participate. completeness of data needed to generate required reports, enter basic summary data for reports annually, and finalize and save required reports for upload into other reporting systems as required. Information to be collected will provide crucial data for program performance monitoring and provide CDC with the capacity to respond in a timely manner to requests for information about the program from the Department of Health and Human ESTIMATED ANNUALIZED BURDEN HOURS Number of responses per respondent Average burden per response (in hours) Total burden (in hours) Form name CSP Program Recipients .................. Annual Progress Report ................... 11 1 12 132 Total ........................................... ........................................................... ........................ ........................ ........................ 132 Jeffrey M. Zirger, Lead, Information Collection Review Office, Office of Scientific Integrity, Office of Science, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. [FR Doc. 2021–16824 Filed 8–5–21; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4163–18–P DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Temporary Halt in Residential Evictions in Communities With Substantial or High Transmission of COVID–19 To Prevent the Further Spread of COVID–19 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). ACTION: Agency Order. AGENCY: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), located within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announces a new Order under Section 361 of the Public Health Service Act to temporarily halt residential evictions in communities with substantial or high transmission of COVID–19 to prevent the further spread of COVID–19. DATES: This Order is effective August 3, 2021 through October 3, 2021. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Tiffany Brown, Deputy Chief of Staff, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1600 Clifton Road NE, MS H21–10, Atlanta, GA 30329. Phone: 404–639–7000. Email: cdcregulations@ cdc.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: SUMMARY: jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with NOTICES Number of respondents Type of respondents VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:29 Aug 05, 2021 Jkt 253001 Background On September 4, 2020, the CDC Director issued an Order temporarily halting evictions in the United States for the reasons described therein. That Order was set to expire on December 31, 2020, subject to further extension, modification, or rescission. Section 502 of Title V, Division N of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 extended the Order until January 31, 2021, and approved the Order as an exercise of the CDC’s authority under Section 361 of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 264). With the extension of the Order, Congress also provided $25 billion for emergency rental assistance for the payment of rent and rental arrears. Congress later provided an additional $21.55 billion in emergency rental assistance when it passed the American Rescue Plan. The Order was extended multiple times due to the changing public health landscape and expired on July 31, 2021 after what was intended to be the final extension.1 Absent an unexpected change in the trajectory of the pandemic, CDC did not plan to extend the Order further. Following the recent surge in cases brought forth by the highly transmissible Delta variant, the CDC Director now issues a new Order temporarily halting evictions for persons in counties or U.S. territories experiencing substantial or high rates of transmission, for the reasons described herein. It is more limited in scope than prior orders, intended to target specific 1 The CDC Director renewed the Order until March 31, 2021. On March 28, 2021, the CDC Director modified and extended the Order until June 30, 2021. On June 24, 2021 the CDC Director extended the Order until July 31, 2021. PO 00000 Frm 00086 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 areas of the country where cases are rapidly increasing, which likely would be exacerbated by mass evictions. Accordingly, subject to the limitations listed in the new Order, a landlord, owner of a residential property, or 2 person with a legal right to pursue eviction or possessory action, shall not evict any covered person from any residential property in any county or U.S. territory while the county or territory is experiencing substantial or high levels of community transmission levels of SARS–CoV–2. This Order will expire on October 3, 2021, but is subject to further extension, modification, or rescission based on public health circumstances.3 A copy of the Order is provided below. A copy of the signed Order and Declaration form can be found at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019ncov/covid-eviction-declaration.html. 2 For purposes of this Order, ‘‘person’’ includes corporations, companies, associations, firms, partnerships, societies, and joint stock companies, as well as individuals. 3 To the extent any provision of this Order conflicts with prior Orders, this Order is controlling, as this is a new order. E:\FR\FM\06AUN1.SGM 06AUN1 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 149 / Friday, August 6, 2021 / Notices Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Department of Health and Human Services Order Under Section 361 of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 264) and 42 Code of Federal Regulations 70.2 Temporary Halt in Residential Evictions in Communities With Substantial or High Levels of Community Transmission of COVID–19 To Prevent the Further Spread of COVID–19 Summary The U.S. Centers for Disease and Control (CDC) is issuing a new order temporarily halting evictions in counties with heightened levels of community transmission in order to respond to recent, unexpected developments in the trajectory of the COVID–19 pandemic, including the rise of the Delta variant. It is intended to target specific areas of the country where cases are rapidly increasing, which likely would be exacerbated by mass evictions. Accordingly, subject to the limitations under ‘‘Applicability,’’ a landlord, owner of a residential property, or other person 4 with a legal right to pursue eviction or possessory action, shall not evict any covered person from any residential property in any county or U.S. territory while the county or territory is experiencing substantial or high levels of community transmission of SARS–CoV–2. jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with NOTICES Definitions ‘‘Available government assistance’’ means any governmental rental or housing payment benefits available to the individual or any household member. ‘‘Available housing’’ means any available, unoccupied residential property, or other space for occupancy in any seasonal or temporary housing, that would not violate federal, state, or local occupancy standards and that would not result in an overall increase of housing cost to such individual. ‘‘Covered person’’ 5 means any tenant, lessee, or resident of a residential 4 For purposes of this Order, ‘‘person’’ includes corporations, companies, associations, firms, partnerships, societies, and joint stock companies, as well as individuals. 5 This definition is based on factors that are known to contribute to evictions and thus increase the need for individuals to move into close quarters in new congregate or shared living arrangements or experience homelessness. Individuals who suffer job loss, have limited financial resources, are low income, or have high out-of-pocket medical expenses are more likely to be evicted for nonpayment of rent than others not experiencing these factors. See Desmond, M., Gershenson, C., Who gets evicted? Assessing individual, neighborhood, and network factors, Soc Sci Res. VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:29 Aug 05, 2021 Jkt 253001 property who provides to their landlord, the owner of the residential property, or other person with a legal right to pursue eviction or a possessory action,6 a declaration 7 under penalty of perjury indicating that: (1) The individual has used best efforts to obtain all available governmental assistance for rent or housing; (2) The individual either (i) earned no more than $99,000 (or $198,000 if filing jointly) in Calendar Year 2020 or expects to earn no more than $99,000 in annual income for Calendar Year 2021 (or no more than $198,000 if filing a joint tax return),8 (ii) was not required to report any income in 2020 to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, or (iii) received an Economic Impact Payment (stimulus check).9 10 2017;62:362–377. doi:10.1016/ j.ssresearch.2016.08.017, (identifying job loss as a possible predictor of eviction because renters who lose their jobs experience not only a sudden loss of income but also the loss of predictable future income). According to one survey, over one quarter (26%) of respondents also identified job loss as the primary cause of homelessness. See 2019 San Francisco Homeless Count & Survey Comprehensive Report, Applied Survey Research, at 22, https://hsh.sfgov.org/wp-content/uploads/ 2020/01/2019HIRDReport_SanFrancisco_ FinalDraft-1.pdf. (last viewed Mar. 24, 2021). 6 As used throughout this Order, this would include, without limitation, an agent or attorney acting on behalf of the landlord or the owner of the residential property. 7 A person who previously filed a declaration under prior CDC eviction moratoria issued on September 4, 2020, January 29, 2021, March 28, 2021, or June 24, 2021 may be eligible for protection under this Order and does not need to file a new declaration, if they live in a county experiencing substantial or high rates of transmission of community levels of SARS–CoV–2 and meet the definition of a covered person under this Order. 8 According to one study, the national twobedroom housing wage in 2020 was $23.96 per hour (approximately, $49,837 annually), meaning that an hourly wage of $23.96 was needed to afford a modest two-bedroom house without spending more than 30% of one’s income on rent. The hourly wage needed in Hawaii (the highest cost U.S. State for rent) was $38.76 (approximately $80,621 annually). See Out of Reach: How Much do you Need to Earn to Afford a Modest Apartment in Your State?, National Low Income Housing Coalition, https:// reports.nlihc.org/oor (last visited Mar. 23, 2021). As further explained herein, because this Order is intended to serve the critical public health goal of preventing evicted individuals from potentially contributing to the interstate spread of COVID–19 through movement into close quarters in new congregate, shared housing settings, or through homelessness, the higher income thresholds listed here have been determined to better serve this goal. 9 ‘‘Stimulus check’’ includes payments made pursuant to Section 2201 of the CARES Act, to Section 9601 of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, or to any similar federally authorized payments made to individual natural persons in 2020 and 2021. Eligibility for the 2020 or 2021 stimulus checks has been based on an income that is equal to or lower than the income thresholds described above and does not change or expand who is a covered person under this Order since it was entered into on September 4, 2020. PO 00000 Frm 00087 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 43245 (3) The individual is unable to pay the full rent or make a full housing payment due to substantial loss of household income, loss of compensable hours of work or wages, a lay-off, or extraordinary 11 out-of-pocket medical expenses; (4) The individual is using best efforts to make timely partial rent payments that are as close to the full rent payment as the individual’s circumstances may permit, taking into account other nondiscretionary expenses; (5) Eviction would likely render the individual homeless—or force the individual to move into and reside in close quarters in a new congregate or shared living setting—because the individual has no other available housing options; and (6) The individual resides in a U.S. county experiencing substantial 12 or high 13 rates of community transmission levels of SARS–CoV–2 as defined by CDC. ‘‘Evict’’ and ‘‘Eviction’’ means any action by a landlord, owner of a residential property, or other person with a legal right to pursue eviction or possessory action, to remove or cause the removal of a covered person from a 10 A person is likely to qualify for protection under this Order if they receive the following benefits: (a) Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF); (b) Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP); (c) Supplemental Security Income (SSI); or (d) Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) to the extent that income limits for these programs are less than or equal to the income limits for this Order. However, it is the individual’s responsibility to verify that their income is within the income limits described. 11 Extraordinary expenses are defined as those that prevented you from paying some or all of your rent or providing for other basic necessities like food security. To qualify as an extraordinary medical expense, the unreimbursed medical expense is one that is likely to exceed 7.5% of one’s adjusted gross income for the year. 12 Counties experiencing substantial transmission levels are experiencing (1) 50.99–99.99 new cases in the county in the past 7 days divided by the population in the county multiplied by 100,000; and (2) 8.00–9.99% positive nucleic acid amplification tests in the past 7 days (number of positive tests in the county during the past 7 days divided by the total number of tests performed in the county during the past 7 days). Christie A, Brooks JT, Hicks LA, et al. Guidance for Implementing COVID–19 Prevention Strategies in the Context of Varying Community Transmission Levels and Vaccination Coverage. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2021;70:1044–1047. DOI: http:// dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm7030e2. See COVID–19 Integrated County View, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; https:// covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#county-view (last updated August 1, 2021). 13 Id. (defining high transmission levels as (1) ≥100 new cases in the county in the past 7 days divided by the population in the county multiplied by 100,000; and (2) ≥10.00% positive nucleic acid amplification tests in the past 7 days (number of positive tests in the county during the past 7 days divided by the total number of tests performed in the county during the past 7 days)). E:\FR\FM\06AUN1.SGM 06AUN1 43246 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 149 / Friday, August 6, 2021 / Notices residential property. This definition also does not prohibit foreclosure on a home mortgage. ‘‘Residential property’’ means any property leased for residential purposes, including any house, building, mobile home or land in a mobile home park,14 or similar dwelling leased for residential purposes, but shall not include any hotel, motel, or other guest house rented to a temporary guest or seasonal tenant as defined under the laws of the state, territorial, tribal, or local jurisdiction. ‘‘State’’ shall have the same definition as under 42 CFR 70.1, meaning ‘‘any of the 50 states, plus the District of Columbia.’’ ‘‘U.S. territory’’ shall have the same definition as under 42 CFR 70.1, meaning ‘‘any territory (also known as possessions) of the United States, including American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.’’ Statement of Intent This Order shall be interpreted and implemented in a manner as to achieve the following objectives: • Mitigating the spread of COVID–19 within crowded, congregate or shared living settings, or through unsheltered homelessness; • Mitigating the further spread of COVID–19 from one state or territory into any other state or territory; • Mitigating the further spread of COVID–19 by temporarily suspending the eviction of covered persons from residential property for nonpayment of rent; and • Supporting response efforts to COVID–19 at the federal, state, local, territorial, and tribal levels. Background jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with NOTICES COVID–19 in the United States Since January 2020, the respiratory disease known as ‘‘COVID–19,’’ caused by a novel coronavirus (SARS–COV–2), has spread globally, including cases reported in all fifty states within the United States, plus the District of Columbia and U.S. territories. As of August 3, 2021, there have been almost 200 million cases of COVID–19 globally, resulting in over 4,240,000 deaths.15 Almost 35,000,000 cases have been identified in the United States, with new cases reported daily, and almost 14 Mobile home parks may also be referred to as manufactured housing communities. 15 COVID–19 Dashboard by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University (JHU), Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center, https:// coronavirus.jhu.edu/map.html (last updated August 3, 2021). VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:29 Aug 05, 2021 Jkt 253001 610,000 deaths have been attributed to the disease.16 A renewed surge in cases in the United States began in early July 2021; case counts rose from 19,000 cases on July 1, 2021 to 103,000 cases on July 30, 2021. Forecasted case counts predict that cases will continue to rise over the next four weeks.17 The virus that causes COVID–19 spreads very easily and sustainably between people, particularly those who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet, but occasionally over longer distances), mainly through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks. Individuals without symptoms can also spread the virus.18 Among adults, the risk for severe illness from COVID–19 increases with age, with older adults at highest risk. Severe illness means that persons with COVID– 19 may require hospitalization, intensive care, or a ventilator to help them breathe, and may be fatal. People of any age with certain underlying medical conditions (e.g., cancer, obesity, serious heart conditions, or diabetes) are at increased risk for severe illness from COVID–19.19 New variants of SARS–CoV–2 have emerged globally,20 several of which have been identified as variants of concern,21 including the Alpha, Beta, Gamma, and Delta variants. These variants of concern have evidence of an increase in transmissibility, which may lead to higher incidence.22 16 COVID Data Tracker, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, https://covid.cdc.gov/ covid-data-tracker/#datatracker-home (last updated August 1, 2021). 17 United States Forecasting, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, https://covid.cdc.gov/ covid-data-tracker/#forecasting_weeklycases (updated July 28, 2021) (citing data an estimated 608,569 weekly COVID–19 cases by early September 2021). 18 Kimball A., Hatfield K.M., Arons M., et al. Asymptomatic and Presymptomatic SARS–CoV–2 Infections in Residents of a Long-Term Care Skilled Nursing Facility—King County, Washington, March 2020. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2020;69:377– 381. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/ mmwr.mm6913e1. 19 Razzaghi H., Wang Y., Lu H., et al. Estimated County-Level Prevalence of Selected Underlying Medical Conditions Associated with Increased Risk for Severe COVID–19 Illness—United States, 2018. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2020;69:945–950. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6929a1. 20 Abdool Karim S.S., de Oliveira T. New SARS– CoV–2 Variants—Clinical, Public Health, and Vaccine Implications [published online ahead of print, 2021 Mar 24]. N Engl J Med. 2021;10.1056/ NEJMc2100362. doi:10.1056/NEJMc2100362. 21 Id. 22 Dougherty K., Mannell M., Naqvi O., Matson D., Stone J. SARS–CoV–2 B.1.617.2 (Delta) Variant COVID–19 Outbreak Associated with a Gymnastics Facility—Oklahoma, April–May 2021. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2021;70:1004–1007. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm7028e2 (describing a B.1.617.2 (Delta) Variant COVID–19 PO 00000 Frm 00088 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Currently, the Delta variant is the predominant SARS–CoV–2 strain circulating in the United States, estimated to account for over 82% of cases as of July 17, 2021.23 The Delta variant has demonstrated increased levels of transmissibility compared to other variants.24 Furthermore, early evidence suggests that people who are vaccinated and become infected with the Delta variant may transmit the virus to others.25 Transmission of the Delta variant has led to accelerated community transmission in the United States. CDC recommends assessing the level of community transmission using, at a minimum, two metrics: new COVID–19 cases per 100,000 persons in the last 7 days and percentage of positive SARS– CoV–2 diagnostic nucleic acid amplification tests in the last 7 days. For each of these metrics, CDC classifies transmission values as low, moderate, substantial, or high. As of August 1, 2021, over 80% of the U.S. counties were classified as experiencing substantial or high levels of community transmission.26 In areas of substantial or high transmission, CDC recommends community leaders encourage vaccination and universal masking in indoor public spaces in addition to other layered prevention strategies to prevent further spread. COVID–19 vaccines are now widely available in the United States, and vaccination is recommended for all people 12 years of age and older. Three COVID–19 vaccines are currently authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for emergency use: Two mRNA vaccines and one viral vector vaccine, each of which has been determined to be safe and effective against COVID–19. As of July 28, 2021, over 163 million people in the United States (57.6% of the population 12 years or older) have been fully vaccinated and outbreak associated with a gymnastics facility and finding that the Delta variant is highly transmissible in indoor sports settings and households, which might lead to increased incidence rates). 23 Variant Proportions, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, https://covid.cdc.gov/ covid-data-tracker/#variant-proportions (citing data for the two-week interval ending July 17, 2021). 24 About Variants of the Virus that Causes COVID–19, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019ncov/variants/variant.html (last updated June 28, 2021). 25 Riemersma et al. Vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals have similar viral loads in communities with a high prevalence of the SARS–CoV–2 Delta variant. Pre-print. Available at https:// www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/ 2021.07.31.21261387v1. 26 COVID–19 Integrated County View, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, https:// covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#county-view (last updated July 28, 2021). E:\FR\FM\06AUN1.SGM 06AUN1 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 149 / Friday, August 6, 2021 / Notices jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with NOTICES over 189 million people in the United States (66.8% of the population 12 years or older) have received at least one dose.27 Changes in vaccine uptake and the extreme transmissibility of the Delta variant have resulted in rising numbers of COVID–19 cases, primarily and disproportionately affecting the unvaccinated population. The COVID–19 vaccination effort has a slower rate of penetration among the populations most likely to experience eviction.28 29 In combination with the continued underlying COVID–19 spread, and the overlapping factors described above, this creates considerable risk for rapid transmission of COVID–19 in high-risk settings. In the context of a pandemic, eviction moratoria—like quarantine, isolation, and social distancing—can be an effective public health measure utilized to prevent the spread of communicable disease. Eviction moratoria facilitate self-isolation and self-quarantine by people who become ill or who are at risk of transmitting COVID–19. Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (Pub. L. 116–136) to aid individuals and businesses adversely affected by COVID–19 in March 2020. Section 4024 of the CARES Act provided a 120-day moratorium on eviction filings as well as other protections for tenants in certain rental properties with federal assistance or federally related mortgage financing. These protections helped alleviate the public health consequences of tenant displacement during the COVID–19 pandemic. The CARES Act eviction moratorium expired on July 24, 2020. The protections in the CARES Act supplemented temporary eviction moratoria and rent freezes implemented by governors and other local officials using emergency powers. Researchers estimated that this temporary federal moratorium provided relief to over one-quarter a material portion of the nation’s roughly 43 million renters.30 The CARES act also 27 COVID–19 Vaccinations in the United States, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, https:// covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#vaccinations (last updated July 28, 2021). 28 Barry V., Dasgupta S., Weller D.L., et al. Patterns in COVID–19 Vaccination Coverage, by Social Vulnerability and Urbanicity—United States, December 14, 2020–May 1, 2021. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2021;70:818–824. DOI: http:// dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm7022e1. 29 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. COVID–19 Vaccination Equity. Accessed 8/3/21. Available at: https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-datatracker/#vaccination-equity. 30 Laurie Goodman, Karan Kaul, and Michael Neal. The CARES Act Eviction Moratorium Covers All Federally Financed Rentals—That’s One in Four US Rental Units. The Urban Institute. April 2, 2020. https://www.urban.org/urban-wire/cares-act- VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:29 Aug 05, 2021 Jkt 253001 provided funding streams for emergency rental assistance; surveys estimate that this assistance became available to the public through rental assistance programs by July 2020.31 The Federal moratorium provided by the CARES Act, however, did not reach all renters. Many renters who fell outside the scope of the Federal moratorium were instead protected under state and local moratoria. In early March 2021, the Census Household Pulse Survey estimated that 6.4 million households were behind on rent and just under half fear imminent eviction.32 In 2016, research showed that there were 3.6 million eviction filings and 1.5 million eviction judgments over the span of a whole year,33 meaning that the pandemic would cause a wave of evictions on a scale that would be unprecedented in modern times. A large portion of those who are evicted may move into close quarters in shared housing or, as discussed below, become homeless, thus becoming at higher risk of COVID–19. On September 4, 2020, the CDC Director issued an Order temporarily halting evictions in the United States for the reasons described therein. That Order was set to expire on December 31, 2020, subject to further extension, modification, or rescission. Section 502 of Title V, Division N of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 extended the Order until January 31, 2021, and approved the Order as an exercise of the CDC’s authority under Section 361 of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 264). With the extension of the Order, Congress also provided $25 billion for emergency rental assistance for the payment of rent and rental arrears. Congress later provided an additional $21.55 billion in emergency rental assistance when it passed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. The Order was extended multiple times due to the changing public health landscape and expired on July 31, 2021 after what was intended to be the final eviction-moratorium-covers-all-federally-financedrentals-thats-one-four-us-rental-units. 31 Vincent Reina et al, COVID–19 Emergency Rental Assistance: Analysis of a National Survey of Programs, Research Brief, https://nlihc.org/sites/ default/files/HIP_NLIHC_Furman_Brief_FINAL.pdf (last visited Mar. 26, 2021). 32 Census Household Pulse Survey: Key Phase 3 Housing Payment Findings. Office of Policy Development and Research, HUDUser (April 26, 2021). https://www.huduser.gov/portal/pdredge/ pdr-edge-trending-042621.html. 33 Ashley Gromis. Eviction: Intersection of Poverty, Inequality, and Housing. Eviction Lab, Princeton University (May 2019). https:// www.un.org/development/desa/dspd/wp-content/ uploads/sites/22/2019/05/GROMIS_Ashley_ Paper.pdf. PO 00000 Frm 00089 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 43247 extension.34 Absent an unexpected change in the trajectory of the pandemic, CDC did not plan to extend the Order further. Following the recent surge in cases brought forth by the highly transmissible Delta variant, the CDC Director now issues a new Order temporarily halting evictions for persons in counties experiencing substantial or high rates of transmission, for the reasons described herein. This Order will expire on October 3, 2021, but is subject to further extension, modification, or rescission based on public health circumstances. Researchers estimate that, in 2020, Federal, state, and local eviction moratoria led to over 1.5 million fewer evictions filings than the previous year.35 Additional research shows that, despite the CDC eviction moratorium leading to an estimated 50% decrease in eviction filings compared to the historical average,36 there have still been over 450,000 eviction filings during the pandemic just within approximately 31 cities and six states with more readily available data. This data covers approximately 1 in 4 renter households in the country, suggesting high demand and likelihood of mass evictions nationwide.37 Eviction, Crowding, and Interstate Transmission of COVID–19 By February 10, 2021, the U.S. Department of the Treasury had paid all of the $25 billion made available by the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 to states, territories, localities and tribes for the purpose of providing emergency rental assistance to eligible households in their jurisdictions. Additionally, as directed in the Act, Treasury has also made available 40 percent—more than $8.6 billion—of the additional funding to states, territories and localities for emergency rental assistance provided in the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. While some emergency rental assistance programs were slow to open, every State program had opened by early June. Based on data collected from grantees, Treasury reports that over 85,000 renter households received rental and utility 34 The CDC Director renewed the Order until March 31, 2021. On March 28, 2021, the CDC Director modified and extended the Order until June 30, 2021. On June 24, 2021 the CDC Director extended the Order until July 31, 2021. 35 Hepburn P., Louis R., Fish J., et al. U.S. Eviction Filing Patterns in 2020. Socius. January 2021. doi:10.1177/23780231211009983. 36 Peter Hepburn and Renee Louis. Preliminary Analysis: Six Months of the CDC Eviction Moratorium (March 8, 2021). https:// evictionlab.org/six-months-cdc/. 37 Eviction Lab. Accessed 8/2/21. Available at: https://evictionlab.org/eviction-tracking/. E:\FR\FM\06AUN1.SGM 06AUN1 43248 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 149 / Friday, August 6, 2021 / Notices jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with NOTICES assistance to support their housing stability by the end of March and this number increased to more than 100,000 in April, more than 156,000 in May and over 290,000 in June. Though emergency rental assistance has clearly started to reach increasing numbers of families over recent months, state and local agencies have hundreds of thousands of applications for assistance that currently remain outstanding as programs accelerate their activity. The level of assistance continued to increase in June, with nearly 300,000 households served. Based on analysis of grantee reporting, Treasury believes that the monthly deployment of rental assistance by state and local emergency rental assistance programs will continue to increase from the significant deployment in June. In addition to Emergency Rental Assistance, there are coordinated efforts across Federal agencies to—in partnership with states and localities—promote eviction prevention strategies. Recent data from the U.S. Census Household Pulse Survey demonstrates that just under half of households behind on rent believe that an eviction is likely in the next two months.38 A surge in evictions could lead to the immediate and significant movement of large numbers of persons from lower density to higher density housing at a time in the United States when the highly transmissible Delta variant is driving COVID–19 cases at an unprecedented rate. Evicted renters must move, which leads to multiple outcomes that increase the risk of COVID–19 spread. Specifically, many evicted renters move into close quarters in shared housing or other congregate settings. These moves may require crossing state borders. According to the 2017 Census Bureau American Housing Survey, 32% of renters reported that they would move in with friends or family members upon eviction, which would introduce new household members and potentially increase household crowding. Studies show that COVID–19 transmission occurs readily within households. The secondary attack rate in households has been estimated to be 17%, and household contacts are estimated to be 6 times more likely to become infected by an index case of COVID–19 than other close contacts.39 A study of 38 Household Pulse Survey Interactive Tool. U.S. Census Bureau. https://www.census.gov/data-tools/ demo/hhp/#/ (last visited June 23, 2021). 39 Qin-Long Jing, et al. Household secondary attack rate of COVID–19 and associated determinants in Guangzhou, China: a retrospective cohort study. The Lancet. 2020 June 17; vol. 20.10; VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:29 Aug 05, 2021 Jkt 253001 pregnant women in New York City showed that women in large households (greater number of residents per household) were three times as likely to test positive for SARS–CoV–2 than those in smaller households, and those in neighborhoods with greater household crowding (>1 resident per room) were twice as likely to test positive.40 Throughout the United States, counties with the highest proportion of crowded households have experienced COVID–19 mortality rates 2.6 times those of counties with the lowest proportion of crowded households. Shared housing is not limited to friends and family. It includes a broad range of settings, including transitional housing and domestic violence and abuse shelters. Special considerations exist for such housing because of the challenges of maintaining social distance. Residents often gather closely or use shared equipment, such as kitchen appliances, laundry facilities, stairwells, and elevators. Residents may have unique needs, such as disabilities, chronic health conditions, cognitive decline, or limited access to technology, and thus may find it more difficult to take actions to protect themselves from COVID–19. CDC recommends that shelters provide new residents with a clean mask, keep them isolated from others, screen for symptoms at entry, or arrange for medical evaluations as needed depending on symptoms. Accordingly, an influx of new residents at facilities that offer support services could potentially overwhelm staff and, if recommendations are not followed, lead to exposures. Modeling studies and observational data from the pre-vaccine phase of the COVID–19 pandemic comparing incidence between states that implemented and lifted eviction moratoria indicate that evictions substantially contribute to COVID–19 transmission. In mathematical models where eviction led exclusively to sharing housing with friends or family, lifting eviction moratoria led to a 30% increased risk of contracting COVID–19 among people who were evicted and those with whom they shared housing after eviction.41 Compared to a scenario doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/S1473-3099(20)304710. 40 Ukachi N. Emeruwa, et al. Associations Between Built Environment, Neighborhood Socioeconomic Status, and SARS–CoV–2 Infection Among Pregnant Women in New York City. JAMA. 2020;324(4):390–392. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.11370. 41 Nande A, Sheen J, Walters EL, Klein B, Chinazzi M, Gheorghe AH, Adlam B, Shinnick J, Tejeda MF, Scarpino SV, Vespignani A, Greenlee AJ, Schneider D, Levy MZ, Hill AL. The effect of eviction moratoria on the transmission of SARS– PO 00000 Frm 00090 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 where no evictions occurred, the models also predicted a 4%–40% increased risk of infection, even for those who did not share housing, as a result of increased overall transmission. The authors estimated that anywhere from 1,000 to 100,000 excess cases per million population could be attributable to evictions depending on the eviction and infection rates. An analysis of observational data from state-based eviction moratoria in 43 states and the District of Columbia showed significant increases in COVID– 19 incidence and mortality approximately 2–3 months after eviction moratoria were lifted.42 Specifically, the authors compared the COVID–19 incidence and mortality rates in states that lifted their moratoria with the rates in states that maintained their moratoria. In these models, the authors accounted for time-varying indicators of each state’s test count as well as major public-health interventions including lifting stay-at-home orders, school closures, and mask mandates. After adjusting for these other changes, they found that the incidence of COVID–19 in states that lifted their moratoria was 1.6 times that of states that did not at 10 weeks post-lifting (95% CI 1.0, 2.3), a ratio that grew to 2.1 at ≥16 weeks (CI 1.1, 3.9). Similarly, they found that mortality in states that lifted their moratoria was 1.6 times that of states that did not at 7 weeks post-lifting (CI 1.2, 2.3), a ratio that grew to 5.4 at ≥16 weeks (CI 3.1, 9.3). The authors estimated that, nationally, over 433,000 cases of COVID–19 and over 10,000 deaths could be attributed to lifting state moratoria.43 Although data are limited, available evidence suggests evictions lead to interstate spread of COVID–19 in two ways. First, an eviction may lead the evicted members of a household to move across state lines. Of the 35 million people in America who move each year, 15% move to a new state. Second, even if a particular eviction, standing alone, would not always result in interstate displacement, the mass CoV–2. Nat Commun. 2021 Apr 15;12(1):2274. doi: 10.1038/s41467–021–22521–5. PMID: 33859196; PMCID: PMC8050248. 42 Leifheit KM, Linton SL, Raifman J, Schwartz GL, Benfer EA, Zimmerman FJ, Pollack CE. Expiring Eviction Moratoriums and COVID–19 Incidence and Mortality. Am J Epidemiol. 2021 Jul 26:kwab196. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwab196. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34309643. 43 Leifheit, Kathryn M. and Linton, Sabriya L. and Raifman, Julia and Schwartz, Gabriel and Benfer, Emily and Zimmerman, Frederick J and Pollack, Craig, Expiring Eviction Moratoriums and COVID– 19 Incidence and Mortality (November 30, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/ abstract=3739576 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ ssrn.3739576. E:\FR\FM\06AUN1.SGM 06AUN1 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 149 / Friday, August 6, 2021 / Notices jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with NOTICES evictions that would occur in the absence of this Order would inevitably increase the interstate spread of COVID– 19. This Order cannot effectively mitigate interstate transmission of COVID–19 without covering intrastate evictions (evictions occurring within the boundaries of a state or territory), as the level of spread of SARS–CoV–2 resulting from these evictions can lead to SARS–CoV–2 transmission across state borders. Moreover, intrastate spread facilitates interstate spread in the context of communicable disease spread, given the nature of infectious disease. In the aggregate, the mass-scale evictions that will likely occur in the absence of this Order in areas of substantial or high transmission will inevitably increase interstate spread of COVID–19. Eviction, Homelessness, and COVID–19 Transmission Evicted individuals without access to support or other assistance options may become homeless, including older adults or those with underlying medical conditions, who are more at risk for severe illness from COVID–19 than the general population. In Seattle-King County, 5–15% of people experiencing homelessness between 2018 and 2020 cited eviction as the primary reason for becoming homeless.44 Additionally, some individuals and families who are evicted may originally stay with family or friends, but subsequently seek homeless services. Data collection by an emergency shelter in Columbus, Ohio, showed that 35.4% of families and 11.4% of single adults reported an eviction as the primary or secondary reason for their seeking shelter.45 Extensive outbreaks of COVID–19 have been identified in homeless shelters. In Seattle, Washington, a network of three related homeless shelters experienced an outbreak that led to 43 cases among residents and staff members. In Boston, Massachusetts, universal COVID–19 testing at a single shelter revealed 147 cases, representing 36% of shelter residents. COVID–19 testing in a single shelter in San Francisco led to the identification of 101 cases (67% of those tested). Data from 634 universal diagnostic testing events at homeless shelters in 21 states show an average of 6% positivity among shelter clients. Data comparing the incidence or severity of COVID–19 among people experiencing 44 Count Us In 2020. KCRHA (July 2020). https:// kcrha.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/Count-Us_ In-2020-Final_7.29.2020.pdf. 45 Chester Hartman and David Robinson. ‘‘Evictions: The Hidden Housing Problem’’ in Housing Policy Debate. 2003. VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:29 Aug 05, 2021 Jkt 253001 homelessness directly to the general population are limited. However, during the 15-day period of the outbreak in Boston, MA, researchers estimated a cumulative incidence of 46.3 cases of COVID–19 per 1000 persons experiencing homelessness, as compared to 1.9 cases per 1000 among Massachusetts adults (pre-print). Among other things, CDC guidance recommends increasing physical distance between beds in homeless shelters, which is likely to decrease capacity, while community transmission of COVID–19 is occurring. To adhere to this guidance, shelters have limited the number of people served throughout the United States. In many places, considerably fewer beds are available to individuals who become homeless. Shelters that do not adhere to the guidance, and operate at ordinary or increased occupancy, are at greater risk for the types of outbreaks described above. Application of COVID–19 Prevention Strategies Based on Community Transmission CDC recommends strengthening or adding effective COVID–19 mitigation strategies in communities with considerable transmission risk. As discussed above, CDC guidance specifies that everyone, regardless of vaccination status, should wear masks in indoor and public settings in communities experiencing substantial or high rates of community transmission. Similarly, CDC guidance for homeless shelters recommends maintaining layered COVID–19 precautions as long as community transmission is occurring and provides options for scaling back precautions when community transmission is low.46 Eviction moratoria represent a COVID–19 transmission prevention measure that can similarly be applied when the epidemiological context is appropriate, for example in communities with substantial or high transmission of COVID–19.47 Prevention strategies like these should only be relaxed or lifted after two weeks of continuous sustained improvement in the level of community transmission. In areas with low or no SARS–CoV–2 transmission and with testing capacity 46 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Interim Guidance for Homeless Service Providers to Plan and Respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID–19). Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/ coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/homelessshelters/plan-prepare-respond.html. 47 Of course, eviction moratoria are only effective to the degree that consumers know about them and to the degree they are complied with by landlords, owners of residential property, others who have a right to evict, or their agents. PO 00000 Frm 00091 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 43249 in place to detect early introduction or increases in spread of the virus, layered prevention strategies might be removed one at a time while monitoring closely for any evidence that COVID–19 cases are increasing. Decisions to add or remove prevention strategies should be based on local data and public health recommendations. The emergence of more transmissible SARS–CoV–2 variants, including Delta, increases the urgency for public health agencies and other organizations to collaboratively monitor the status of the pandemic in their communities and continue to apply layered prevention strategies. Persons at Higher Risk of Eviction May Also Be at Higher Risk of Being Unvaccinated Communities with high rates of eviction have been shown to have lower coverage of COVID–19 vaccination—a focus for current vaccination campaigns. A study in the spring of 2021 showed that counties with high social vulnerability (i.e., social and structural factors associated with adverse health outcome inclusive of socioeconomic indicators related to risk of eviction) had lower levels of COVID–19 vaccination.48 CDC Eviction Moratorium The Department of the Treasury has made funding available to states, territories, localities, and Tribal governments, which continue to distribute emergency rental assistance funds that may help mitigate spikes in COVID–19 transmission due to increases in evictions. Alongside other federal and state efforts to prevent evictions, these funds are expected to make a meaningful difference for hundreds of thousands of people who are expected to receive the rental assistance.49 On September 4, 2020, the CDC Director issued an Order temporarily halting evictions in the United States for the reasons described therein. That Order was set to expire on December 31, 2020, subject to further extension, modification, or rescission. Section 502 of Title V, Division N of the 48 Barry V, Dasgupta S, Weller DL, Kriss JL, Cadwell BL, Rose C, Pingali C, Musial T, Sharpe JD, Flores SA, Greenlund KJ, Patel A, Stewart A, Qualters JR, Harris L, Barbour KE, Black CL. Patterns in COVID–19 Vaccination Coverage, by Social Vulnerability and Urbanicity—United States, December 14, 2020–May 1, 2021. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2021 Jun 4;70(22):818–824. doi: 10.15585/mmwr.mm7022e1. PMID: 34081685; PMCID: PMC8174677. 49 Treasury Emergency Rental Assistance Programs in 2021: Analysis of a National Survey. National Low Income Housing Coalition. June 2021. https://nlihc.org/sites/default/files/HIP_NLIHC_ Furman_2021_6-22_FINAL_v2.pdf. E:\FR\FM\06AUN1.SGM 06AUN1 43250 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 149 / Friday, August 6, 2021 / Notices Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 extended the Order until January 31, 2021. With the extension of the Order, Congress also provided $25 billion for emergency rental assistance for the payment of rent and rental arrears. Congress later provided an additional $21.55 billion in emergency rental assistance when it passed the American Rescue Plan. On January 29, 2021, following an assessment of the ongoing pandemic, the CDC Director renewed the Order until March 31, 2021. On March 28, the CDC Director renewed the Order until June 30, 2021. On June 24, the CDC Director renewed the Order until July 31, 2021 (July Order). The CDC Director indicated that the July Order would be the final extension of the nationwide eviction moratorium absent an unexpected change in the trajectory of the pandemic. Unfortunately, the rise of the Delta variant and corresponding rise in cases in numerous counties in the United States have altered the trajectory of the pandemic. As a result, CDC is issuing this narrower, more targeted Order to temporarily halt evictions in the hardest hit areas. Without this Order, evictions in these areas would likely exacerbate the increase in cases. To the extent any provision of this Order conflicts with prior Orders, this Order is controlling. jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with NOTICES Applicability This Order applies in U.S. counties 50 experiencing substantial 51 and high 52 levels of community transmission levels of SARS–CoV–2 as defined by CDC, as of August 3, 2021. If a U.S. county that is not covered by this Order as of August 3, 2021 later experiences substantial or high levels of community transmission while this Order is in effect, then that county will become subject to this Order as of the date the county begins experiencing substantial or high levels of community transmission. If a U.S. county that is covered by this Order no longer experiences substantial or high levels of community transmission for 14 consecutive days, then this Order will no longer apply in that county, unless and until the county again experiences substantial or high levels of community transmission while this Order is in effect. This Order does not apply in any state, local, territorial, or tribal area with a moratorium on residential evictions 50 As used in this Order, the term ‘‘county’’ refers to both counties in the United States and U.S. territories. 51 Supra note 7. 52 Supra. note 8. VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:29 Aug 05, 2021 Jkt 253001 that provides the same or greater level of public-health protection than the requirements listed in this Order or to the extent its application is prohibited by Federal court order. In accordance with 42 U.S.C. 264(e), this Order does not preclude state, local, territorial, and tribal authorities from imposing additional requirements that provide greater public-health protection and are more restrictive than the requirements in this Order. This Order is a temporary eviction moratorium to prevent the further spread of COVID–19. This Order does not relieve any individual of any obligation to pay rent, make a housing payment, or comply with any other obligation that the individual may have under a tenancy, lease, or similar contract. Nothing in this Order precludes the charging or collecting of fees, penalties, or interest as a result of the failure to pay rent or other housing payment on a timely basis, under the terms of any applicable contract. Nothing in this Order precludes evictions based on a tenant, lessee, or resident: (1) Engaging in criminal activity while on the premises; (2) threatening the health or safety of other residents; 53 (3) damaging or posing an immediate and significant risk of damage to property; (4) violating any applicable building code, health ordinance, or similar regulation relating to health and safety; or (5) violating any other contractual obligation, other than the timely payment of rent or similar housing-related payment (including non-payment or late payment of fees, penalties, or interest). Any evictions for nonpayment of rent initiated prior to issuance of this Order but not yet completed, are subject to this Order. Any tenant, lessee, or resident of a residential property who previously submitted a Declaration, still qualifies as a ‘‘Covered Person’’ and is still present in a rental unit is entitled to protections under this Order. Any eviction that was completed before issuance of this Order including from August 1 through August 3, 2021 is not subject to this Order, as it does not operate retroactively. Under this Order, covered persons may be evicted for engaging in criminal activity while on the premises. But 53 Individuals who might have COVID–19 are advised to stay home except to get medical care. Accordingly, individuals who might have COVID– 19 and take reasonable precautions to not spread the disease should not be evicted on the ground that they may pose a health or safety threat to other residents. See What to Do if You are Sick, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, https:// www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-aresick/steps-when-sick.html (last updated Mar. 17, 2021). PO 00000 Frm 00092 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 covered persons may not be evicted on the sole basis that they are alleged to have committed the crime of trespass (or similar state-law offense) where the underlying activity is a covered person remaining in a residential property for nonpayment of rent. Permitting such evictions would result in substantially more evictions overall, thus increasing the risk of disease transmission as otherwise covered persons move into congregate settings or experience homelessness. This result would be contrary to the stated objectives of this Order, and therefore would diminish their effectiveness. Moreover, to the extent such criminal trespass laws are invoked to establish criminal activity solely based on a tenant, lessee, or resident of a residential property remaining in a residential property despite the nonpayment of rent, such invocation conflicts with this Order and is preempted pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 264(e). Individuals who are confirmed to have, who have been exposed to, or who might have COVID–19 and take reasonable precautions to not spread the disease may not be evicted on grounds that they may pose a health or safety threat to other residents. This Order is in effect through October 3, 2021, based on the current and projected epidemiological context of SARS–CoV–2 transmission throughout the United States. This timeframe will allow the assessment of natural changes to COVID–19 incidence, the influences of new variants, additional distribution of emergency rental assistance funds, and the expansion of COVID–19 vaccine uptake. Declaration Forms To qualify for the protections of this Order, a tenant, lessee, or resident of a residential property must provide a completed and signed copy of a declaration with the elements listed in the definition of ‘‘Covered person’’ to their landlord, owner of the residential property where they live, or other person who has a right to have them evicted or removed from where they live. To assist tenants and landlords, the CDC created a standardized declaration form that can be downloaded here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019ncov/downloads/declaration-form.pdf. Tenants, lessees, and residents of residential property are not obligated to use the CDC form. Any written document that an eligible tenant, lessee, or resident of residential property presents to their landlord will comply with this Order, as long as it contains the required elements of ‘‘Covered person’’ as described in this Order. In E:\FR\FM\06AUN1.SGM 06AUN1 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 149 / Friday, August 6, 2021 / Notices addition, tenants, lessees, and residents of residential property are allowed to declare in writing that they meet the elements of ‘‘Covered person’’ in other languages. All declarations, regardless of form used, must be signed, and must include a statement that the tenant, lessee, or resident of a residential property understands that they could be liable for perjury for any false or misleading statements or omissions in the declaration. This Order does not preclude a landlord challenging the truthfulness of a tenant’s, lessee’s, or resident’s declaration in court, as permitted under state or local law. In certain circumstances, such as individuals filing a joint tax return, it may be appropriate for one member of the residence to provide an executed declaration on behalf of the other adult residents party to the lease, rental agreement, or housing contract. The declaration may be signed and transmitted either electronically or by hard copy. As long as the information in a previously signed declaration submitted under a previous order remains truthful and accurate, covered persons do not need to submit a new declaration under this Order. However, eligibility for protection will be based on the terms of this Order. Findings and Action jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with NOTICES Determination For the reasons described herein, I have determined based on the information below that issuing a temporary halt in evictions in counties experiencing substantial or high levels of COVID–19 transmission constitutes a reasonably necessary measure under 42 CFR 70.2 to prevent the further spread of COVID–19 throughout the United States. I have further determined that measures by states, localities, or territories that do not meet or exceed these minimum protections are insufficient to prevent the interstate spread of COVID–19. State and local jurisdictions continue to distribute emergency rental assistance funds, provided by the Department of Treasury, that will help avert a spate of evictions and thus mitigate corresponding spikes in COVID–19 transmission. Trends have dramatically worsened since June 2021 and transmission is rapidly accelerating in the United States.54 54 COVID Data Tracker, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, https://covid.cdc.gov/ covid-data-tracker/#trends_dailytrendscases (last updated June 22, 2021). VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:29 Aug 05, 2021 Jkt 253001 Congress has appropriated approximately $46 billion—of which almost three-quarters is currently available to state and local grantees—to help pay rent and rental arrears for tenants who may otherwise be at high risk of eviction. According to estimates based on the U.S. Census Household Pulse Survey, approximately 6.9 million renter households were behind on their rent in late June. At that time, about 4.6 million renter households were concerned that they could not pay next month’s rent. The successful delivery of those funds by states and localities should greatly reduce the incidence of eviction that would occur in the absence of that support. However, many states and localities are still ramping up the collection and processing of applications and the delivery of assistance and putting in place other eviction prevention strategies. It was only in the beginning of June that all state-run emergency rental assistance programs had opened for applications. If the moratorium is not in place, a wave of evictions, on the order of hundreds of thousands, could occur in late summer and early fall, exacerbating the spread of COVID–19 among the significant percentage of the population that remains unvaccinated. In appropriating these emergency rental assistance funds, Congress intended that the funding would work in concert with the eviction moratorium, providing time for rental assistance to reach eligible tenants and landlords to sustainably reduce the threat of an eviction wave after an eviction moratorium was no longer in effect. While the pace of assistance is continuing to increase, without additional time for states and localities to deliver this needed relief and engage in other efforts to prevent evictions, a surge of evictions would occur upon the conclusion of the national moratorium. A surge in evictions would lead to immediate movement, crowding, and increased stress on the homeless service system. In combination with surging COVID–19 rates across the country, and the overlapping factors described above, this would create considerable risk for the rapid transmission of COVID–19 in high-risk settings. Based on the convergence of these issues, I have determined that issuing a new Order temporarily halting evictions is appropriate. Accordingly, a landlord, owner of a residential property, or other person with a legal right to pursue eviction or possessory action shall not evict any covered person from any residential property in any county or U.S. territory while COVID–19 transmission is substantial or high and the relevant PO 00000 Frm 00093 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 43251 state, county, locality, or territory has provided a level of public-health protections below the requirements listed in this Order. This Order is not a rule within the meaning of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) but rather an emergency action taken under the existing authority of 42 CFR 70.2. The purpose of section 70.2, which was promulgated through notice-andcomment rulemaking, is to enable CDC to take swift steps to prevent contagion without having to seek a second round of public comments and without a delay in effective date.55 Good Cause In the event this Order qualifies as a rule under the APA, there is good cause to dispense with prior public notice and comment and a delay in effective date. See 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B), (d)(3). Good cause exists, in sum, because the public health emergency caused by the COVID–19 pandemic and the unpredictability of the trajectory of the pandemic make it impracticable and contrary to the public health, and by extension the public interest, to delay the issuance and effective date of this Order. I have determined that good cause exists because the public health emergency caused by COVID–19 makes it impracticable and contrary to the public health, and by extension the public interest, to delay the issuance and effective date of the Order. A delay in the effective date of the Order would permit the occurrence of evictions— potentially on a mass scale—that would have potentially significant public health consequences. I conclude that the delay in the effective date of the Order would defeat the purpose of the Order and endanger the public health and, therefore, determine that immediate action is necessary. The rapidly changing nature of the pandemic requires not only that CDC act swiftly, but also deftly to ensure that its actions are commensurate with the threat. This necessarily involves assessing evolving conditions that inform CDC’s determinations. Despite promising trends in the spring of 2021, the surge of cases spurred by the Delta variant has confirmed that the fundamental public health threat—of the risk of large numbers of residential evictions contributing to the spread of COVID–19 throughout the United States—continues to exist. Without this Order, there is every reason to expect that evictions will increase dramatically 55 Chambless Enters., LLC v. Redfield, No. 20– 1455, 2020 WL 7588849 (W.D. La. 2020). E:\FR\FM\06AUN1.SGM 06AUN1 43252 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 149 / Friday, August 6, 2021 / Notices at a time when COVID–19 infections in the United States are increasing sharply. It is imperative that public health authorities act quickly to mitigate such an increase of evictions, which could increase the likelihood of new spikes in SARS–CoV–2 transmission. Such mass evictions and the attendant public health consequences would be very difficult to reverse. For all of these reasons, I hereby conclude that immediate action is again necessary and that notice-and-comment rulemaking and a delay in effective date would be impracticable and contrary to the public interest. jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with NOTICES Miscellaneous Similarly, if this Order qualifies as a rule under the APA, the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) has determined that it would be an economically significant regulatory action pursuant to Executive Order 12866 and a major rule under Subtitle E of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (the Congressional Review Act or CRA), 5 U.S.C. 804(2). Thus, this action has been reviewed by OIRA. CDC has determined that for the same reasons given above, there would be good cause under the CRA to make the requirements herein effective immediately. 5 U.S.C. 808(2). If any provision of this Order, or the application of any provision to any persons, entities, or circumstances, shall be held invalid, the remainder of the provisions, or the application of such provisions to any persons, entities, or circumstances other than those to which it is held invalid, shall remain valid and in effect. This Order shall be enforced by federal authorities and cooperating state and local authorities through the provisions of 18 U.S.C. 3559, 3571; 42 U.S.C. 243, 268, 271; and 42 CFR 70.18. However, this Order has no effect on the contractual obligations of renters to pay rent and shall not preclude charging or collecting fees, penalties, or interest as a result of the failure to pay rent or other housing payment on a timely basis, under the terms of any applicable contract. Criminal Penalties Under 18 U.S.C. 3559, 3571; 42 U.S.C. 271; and 42 CFR 70.18, a person violating this Order may be subject to a fine of no more than $100,000 or one year in jail, or both, if the violation does not result in a death, or a fine of no more than $250,000 or one year in jail, or both if the violation results in a death, or as otherwise provided by law. An organization violating this Order may be subject to a fine of no more than VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:29 Aug 05, 2021 Jkt 253001 $200,000 per event if the violation does not result in a death or $500,000 per event if the violation results in a death or as otherwise provided by law. The U.S. Department of Justice may initiate criminal proceedings as appropriate seeking imposition of these criminal penalties. Notice to Cooperating State and Local Officials Under 42 U.S.C. 243, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is authorized to cooperate with and aid state and local authorities in the enforcement of their quarantine and other health regulations and to accept state and local assistance in the enforcement of Federal quarantine rules and regulations, including in the enforcement of this Order. Notice of Available Federal Resources While this Order to prevent eviction is effectuated to protect the public health, the states and units of local government are reminded that the Federal Government has deployed unprecedented resources to address the pandemic, including housing assistance. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Department of Agriculture, and the Department of the Treasury have informed CDC that unprecedented emergency resources have been appropriated through various Federal agencies that assist renters and landlords during the pandemic, including $46.55 billion to the Treasury through the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 and the American Rescue Plan (ARP). Furthermore, in 2020 44 states and 310 local jurisdictions allocated about $3.9 billion toward emergency rental assistance, largely from funds appropriated to HUD from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES).56 These three rounds of federal appropriations also provided substantial resources for homeless services, homeowner assistance, and supplemental stimulus and unemployment benefits that low-income renters used to pay rent. Visit https://covid.cdc.gov/coviddata-tracker/#county-view for an integrated, county view of levels of community transmission for monitoring the COVID–19 pandemic in the United States. Visit https://home.treasury.gov/ policy-issues/cares/state-and-localgovernments for more information about 56 Vincent Reina et al, COVID–19 Emergency Rental Assistance: Analysis of a National Survey of Programs, Research Brief, https://nlihc.org/sites/ default/files/HIP_NLIHC_Furman_Brief_FINAL.pdf (last visited Mar. 26, 2021). PO 00000 Frm 00094 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 9990 the Coronavirus Relief Fund and https:// home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/cares/ emergency-rental-assistance-program for more information about the Emergency Rental Assistance Program. Visit www.consumerfinance.gov/ renthelp to access the Rental Assistance Finder that connects renters and landlords with the state and local programs that are distributing billions of dollars in federal assistance. Relevant agencies have informed CDC that forbearance policies for mortgages backed by the federal government provide many landlords, especially smaller landlords, with temporary relief as new emergency rental assistance programs are deployed. Treasury, HUD, and USDA grantees and program participants play a critical role in prioritizing efforts to support this goal. All communities should assess what resources have already been allocated to prevent evictions and homelessness through temporary rental assistance and homelessness prevention, particularly to the most vulnerable households. Treasury, HUD, and USDA stand at the ready to support American communities in taking these steps to reduce the spread of COVID–19 and maintain economic prosperity. For program support, including technical assistance, please visit www.hudexchange.info/programsupport. For further information on HUD resources, tools, and guidance available to respond to the COVID–19 pandemic, state and local officials are directed to visit https://www.hud.gov/ coronavirus. These tools include toolkits for Public Housing Authorities and Housing Choice Voucher landlords related to housing stability and eviction prevention, as well as similar guidance for owners and renters in HUD-assisted multifamily properties. Furthermore, tenants can visit consumerfinance.gov/ housing for up-to-date information on rent relief options, protections, and key deadlines. Effective Date This Order is effective on August 3, 2021 and will remain in effect through October 3, 2021, subject to revision based on the changing public health landscape. Authority: The authority for this Order is Section 361 of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 264) and 42 CFR 70.2. Sherri Berger, Chief of Staff, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. [FR Doc. 2021–16945 Filed 8–4–21; 2:00 pm] BILLING CODE 4163–18–P E:\FR\FM\06AUN1.SGM 06AUN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 86, Number 149 (Friday, August 6, 2021)]
[Notices]
[Pages 43244-43252]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2021-16945]


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DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


Temporary Halt in Residential Evictions in Communities With 
Substantial or High Transmission of COVID-19 To Prevent the Further 
Spread of COVID-19

AGENCY: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Department of 
Health and Human Services (HHS).

ACTION: Agency Order.

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SUMMARY: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), located 
within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announces a 
new Order under Section 361 of the Public Health Service Act to 
temporarily halt residential evictions in communities with substantial 
or high transmission of COVID-19 to prevent the further spread of 
COVID-19.

DATES: This Order is effective August 3, 2021 through October 3, 2021.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Tiffany Brown, Deputy Chief of Staff, 
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1600 Clifton Road NE, MS 
H21-10, Atlanta, GA 30329. Phone: 404-639-7000. Email: 
[email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    On September 4, 2020, the CDC Director issued an Order temporarily 
halting evictions in the United States for the reasons described 
therein. That Order was set to expire on December 31, 2020, subject to 
further extension, modification, or rescission. Section 502 of Title V, 
Division N of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 extended the 
Order until January 31, 2021, and approved the Order as an exercise of 
the CDC's authority under Section 361 of the Public Health Service Act 
(42 U.S.C. 264). With the extension of the Order, Congress also 
provided $25 billion for emergency rental assistance for the payment of 
rent and rental arrears. Congress later provided an additional $21.55 
billion in emergency rental assistance when it passed the American 
Rescue Plan. The Order was extended multiple times due to the changing 
public health landscape and expired on July 31, 2021 after what was 
intended to be the final extension.\1\ Absent an unexpected change in 
the trajectory of the pandemic, CDC did not plan to extend the Order 
further.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ The CDC Director renewed the Order until March 31, 2021. On 
March 28, 2021, the CDC Director modified and extended the Order 
until June 30, 2021. On June 24, 2021 the CDC Director extended the 
Order until July 31, 2021.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Following the recent surge in cases brought forth by the highly 
transmissible Delta variant, the CDC Director now issues a new Order 
temporarily halting evictions for persons in counties or U.S. 
territories experiencing substantial or high rates of transmission, for 
the reasons described herein. It is more limited in scope than prior 
orders, intended to target specific areas of the country where cases 
are rapidly increasing, which likely would be exacerbated by mass 
evictions.
    Accordingly, subject to the limitations listed in the new Order, a 
landlord, owner of a residential property, or \2\ person with a legal 
right to pursue eviction or possessory action, shall not evict any 
covered person from any residential property in any county or U.S. 
territory while the county or territory is experiencing substantial or 
high levels of community transmission levels of SARS-CoV-2. This Order 
will expire on October 3, 2021, but is subject to further extension, 
modification, or rescission based on public health circumstances.\3\
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    \2\ For purposes of this Order, ``person'' includes 
corporations, companies, associations, firms, partnerships, 
societies, and joint stock companies, as well as individuals.
    \3\ To the extent any provision of this Order conflicts with 
prior Orders, this Order is controlling, as this is a new order.
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    A copy of the Order is provided below. A copy of the signed Order 
and Declaration form can be found at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/covid-eviction-declaration.html.

[[Page 43245]]

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Department of Health and 
Human Services

Order Under Section 361 of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 
264) and 42 Code of Federal Regulations 70.2

Temporary Halt in Residential Evictions in Communities With Substantial 
or High Levels of Community Transmission of COVID-19 To Prevent the 
Further Spread of COVID-19

Summary

    The U.S. Centers for Disease and Control (CDC) is issuing a new 
order temporarily halting evictions in counties with heightened levels 
of community transmission in order to respond to recent, unexpected 
developments in the trajectory of the COVID-19 pandemic, including the 
rise of the Delta variant. It is intended to target specific areas of 
the country where cases are rapidly increasing, which likely would be 
exacerbated by mass evictions. Accordingly, subject to the limitations 
under ``Applicability,'' a landlord, owner of a residential property, 
or other person \4\ with a legal right to pursue eviction or possessory 
action, shall not evict any covered person from any residential 
property in any county or U.S. territory while the county or territory 
is experiencing substantial or high levels of community transmission of 
SARS-CoV-2.
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    \4\ For purposes of this Order, ``person'' includes 
corporations, companies, associations, firms, partnerships, 
societies, and joint stock companies, as well as individuals.
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Definitions

    ``Available government assistance'' means any governmental rental 
or housing payment benefits available to the individual or any 
household member.
    ``Available housing'' means any available, unoccupied residential 
property, or other space for occupancy in any seasonal or temporary 
housing, that would not violate federal, state, or local occupancy 
standards and that would not result in an overall increase of housing 
cost to such individual.
    ``Covered person'' \5\ means any tenant, lessee, or resident of a 
residential property who provides to their landlord, the owner of the 
residential property, or other person with a legal right to pursue 
eviction or a possessory action,\6\ a declaration \7\ under penalty of 
perjury indicating that:
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    \5\ This definition is based on factors that are known to 
contribute to evictions and thus increase the need for individuals 
to move into close quarters in new congregate or shared living 
arrangements or experience homelessness. Individuals who suffer job 
loss, have limited financial resources, are low income, or have high 
out-of-pocket medical expenses are more likely to be evicted for 
nonpayment of rent than others not experiencing these factors. See 
Desmond, M., Gershenson, C., Who gets evicted? Assessing individual, 
neighborhood, and network factors, Soc Sci Res. 2017;62:362-377. 
doi:10.1016/j.ssresearch.2016.08.017, (identifying job loss as a 
possible predictor of eviction because renters who lose their jobs 
experience not only a sudden loss of income but also the loss of 
predictable future income). According to one survey, over one 
quarter (26%) of respondents also identified job loss as the primary 
cause of homelessness. See 2019 San Francisco Homeless Count & 
Survey Comprehensive Report, Applied Survey Research, at 22, https://hsh.sfgov.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/2019HIRDReport_SanFrancisco_FinalDraft-1.pdf. (last viewed Mar. 24, 
2021).
    \6\ As used throughout this Order, this would include, without 
limitation, an agent or attorney acting on behalf of the landlord or 
the owner of the residential property.
    \7\ A person who previously filed a declaration under prior CDC 
eviction moratoria issued on September 4, 2020, January 29, 2021, 
March 28, 2021, or June 24, 2021 may be eligible for protection 
under this Order and does not need to file a new declaration, if 
they live in a county experiencing substantial or high rates of 
transmission of community levels of SARS-CoV-2 and meet the 
definition of a covered person under this Order.
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    (1) The individual has used best efforts to obtain all available 
governmental assistance for rent or housing;
    (2) The individual either (i) earned no more than $99,000 (or 
$198,000 if filing jointly) in Calendar Year 2020 or expects to earn no 
more than $99,000 in annual income for Calendar Year 2021 (or no more 
than $198,000 if filing a joint tax return),\8\ (ii) was not required 
to report any income in 2020 to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, or 
(iii) received an Economic Impact Payment (stimulus 
check).9 10
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    \8\ According to one study, the national two-bedroom housing 
wage in 2020 was $23.96 per hour (approximately, $49,837 annually), 
meaning that an hourly wage of $23.96 was needed to afford a modest 
two-bedroom house without spending more than 30% of one's income on 
rent. The hourly wage needed in Hawaii (the highest cost U.S. State 
for rent) was $38.76 (approximately $80,621 annually). See Out of 
Reach: How Much do you Need to Earn to Afford a Modest Apartment in 
Your State?, National Low Income Housing Coalition, https://reports.nlihc.org/oor (last visited Mar. 23, 2021). As further 
explained herein, because this Order is intended to serve the 
critical public health goal of preventing evicted individuals from 
potentially contributing to the interstate spread of COVID-19 
through movement into close quarters in new congregate, shared 
housing settings, or through homelessness, the higher income 
thresholds listed here have been determined to better serve this 
goal.
    \9\ ``Stimulus check'' includes payments made pursuant to 
Section 2201 of the CARES Act, to Section 9601 of the American 
Rescue Plan Act of 2021, or to any similar federally authorized 
payments made to individual natural persons in 2020 and 2021. 
Eligibility for the 2020 or 2021 stimulus checks has been based on 
an income that is equal to or lower than the income thresholds 
described above and does not change or expand who is a covered 
person under this Order since it was entered into on September 4, 
2020.
    \10\ A person is likely to qualify for protection under this 
Order if they receive the following benefits: (a) Temporary 
Assistance for Needy Families (TANF); (b) Supplemental Nutrition 
Assistance Program (SNAP); (c) Supplemental Security Income (SSI); 
or (d) Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) to the extent 
that income limits for these programs are less than or equal to the 
income limits for this Order. However, it is the individual's 
responsibility to verify that their income is within the income 
limits described.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (3) The individual is unable to pay the full rent or make a full 
housing payment due to substantial loss of household income, loss of 
compensable hours of work or wages, a lay-off, or extraordinary \11\ 
out-of-pocket medical expenses;
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    \11\ Extraordinary expenses are defined as those that prevented 
you from paying some or all of your rent or providing for other 
basic necessities like food security. To qualify as an extraordinary 
medical expense, the unreimbursed medical expense is one that is 
likely to exceed 7.5% of one's adjusted gross income for the year.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (4) The individual is using best efforts to make timely partial 
rent payments that are as close to the full rent payment as the 
individual's circumstances may permit, taking into account other 
nondiscretionary expenses;
    (5) Eviction would likely render the individual homeless--or force 
the individual to move into and reside in close quarters in a new 
congregate or shared living setting--because the individual has no 
other available housing options; and
    (6) The individual resides in a U.S. county experiencing 
substantial \12\ or high \13\ rates of community transmission levels of 
SARS-CoV-2 as defined by CDC.
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    \12\ Counties experiencing substantial transmission levels are 
experiencing (1) 50.99-99.99 new cases in the county in the past 7 
days divided by the population in the county multiplied by 100,000; 
and (2) 8.00-9.99% positive nucleic acid amplification tests in the 
past 7 days (number of positive tests in the county during the past 
7 days divided by the total number of tests performed in the county 
during the past 7 days). Christie A, Brooks JT, Hicks LA, et al. 
Guidance for Implementing COVID-19 Prevention Strategies in the 
Context of Varying Community Transmission Levels and Vaccination 
Coverage. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2021;70:1044-1047. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm7030e2. See COVID-19 Integrated County 
View, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#county-view (last updated August 
1, 2021).
    \13\ Id. (defining high transmission levels as (1) >=100 new 
cases in the county in the past 7 days divided by the population in 
the county multiplied by 100,000; and (2) >=10.00% positive nucleic 
acid amplification tests in the past 7 days (number of positive 
tests in the county during the past 7 days divided by the total 
number of tests performed in the county during the past 7 days)).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    ``Evict'' and ``Eviction'' means any action by a landlord, owner of 
a residential property, or other person with a legal right to pursue 
eviction or possessory action, to remove or cause the removal of a 
covered person from a

[[Page 43246]]

residential property. This definition also does not prohibit 
foreclosure on a home mortgage.
    ``Residential property'' means any property leased for residential 
purposes, including any house, building, mobile home or land in a 
mobile home park,\14\ or similar dwelling leased for residential 
purposes, but shall not include any hotel, motel, or other guest house 
rented to a temporary guest or seasonal tenant as defined under the 
laws of the state, territorial, tribal, or local jurisdiction.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \14\ Mobile home parks may also be referred to as manufactured 
housing communities.
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    ``State'' shall have the same definition as under 42 CFR 70.1, 
meaning ``any of the 50 states, plus the District of Columbia.''
    ``U.S. territory'' shall have the same definition as under 42 CFR 
70.1, meaning ``any territory (also known as possessions) of the United 
States, including American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, 
the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.''

Statement of Intent

    This Order shall be interpreted and implemented in a manner as to 
achieve the following objectives:
     Mitigating the spread of COVID-19 within crowded, 
congregate or shared living settings, or through unsheltered 
homelessness;
     Mitigating the further spread of COVID-19 from one state 
or territory into any other state or territory;
     Mitigating the further spread of COVID-19 by temporarily 
suspending the eviction of covered persons from residential property 
for nonpayment of rent; and
     Supporting response efforts to COVID-19 at the federal, 
state, local, territorial, and tribal levels.

Background

COVID-19 in the United States
    Since January 2020, the respiratory disease known as ``COVID-19,'' 
caused by a novel coronavirus (SARS-COV-2), has spread globally, 
including cases reported in all fifty states within the United States, 
plus the District of Columbia and U.S. territories. As of August 3, 
2021, there have been almost 200 million cases of COVID-19 globally, 
resulting in over 4,240,000 deaths.\15\ Almost 35,000,000 cases have 
been identified in the United States, with new cases reported daily, 
and almost 610,000 deaths have been attributed to the disease.\16\ A 
renewed surge in cases in the United States began in early July 2021; 
case counts rose from 19,000 cases on July 1, 2021 to 103,000 cases on 
July 30, 2021. Forecasted case counts predict that cases will continue 
to rise over the next four weeks.\17\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \15\ COVID-19 Dashboard by the Center for Systems Science and 
Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University (JHU), Johns Hopkins 
Coronavirus Resource Center, https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/map.html 
(last updated August 3, 2021).
    \16\ COVID Data Tracker, Centers for Disease Control and 
Prevention, https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#datatracker-home (last updated August 1, 2021).
    \17\ United States Forecasting, Centers for Disease Control and 
Prevention, https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#forecasting_weeklycases (updated July 28, 2021) (citing data an 
estimated 608,569 weekly COVID-19 cases by early September 2021).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The virus that causes COVID-19 spreads very easily and sustainably 
between people, particularly those who are in close contact with one 
another (within about 6 feet, but occasionally over longer distances), 
mainly through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person 
coughs, sneezes, or talks. Individuals without symptoms can also spread 
the virus.\18\ Among adults, the risk for severe illness from COVID-19 
increases with age, with older adults at highest risk. Severe illness 
means that persons with COVID-19 may require hospitalization, intensive 
care, or a ventilator to help them breathe, and may be fatal. People of 
any age with certain underlying medical conditions (e.g., cancer, 
obesity, serious heart conditions, or diabetes) are at increased risk 
for severe illness from COVID-19.\19\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \18\ Kimball A., Hatfield K.M., Arons M., et al. Asymptomatic 
and Presymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 Infections in Residents of a Long-Term 
Care Skilled Nursing Facility--King County, Washington, March 2020. 
MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2020;69:377-381. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6913e1.
    \19\ Razzaghi H., Wang Y., Lu H., et al. Estimated County-Level 
Prevalence of Selected Underlying Medical Conditions Associated with 
Increased Risk for Severe COVID-19 Illness--United States, 2018. 
MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2020;69:945-950. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6929a1.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    New variants of SARS-CoV-2 have emerged globally,\20\ several of 
which have been identified as variants of concern,\21\ including the 
Alpha, Beta, Gamma, and Delta variants. These variants of concern have 
evidence of an increase in transmissibility, which may lead to higher 
incidence.\22\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \20\ Abdool Karim S.S., de Oliveira T. New SARS-CoV-2 Variants--
Clinical, Public Health, and Vaccine Implications [published online 
ahead of print, 2021 Mar 24]. N Engl J Med. 2021;10.1056/
NEJMc2100362. doi:10.1056/NEJMc2100362.
    \21\ Id.
    \22\ Dougherty K., Mannell M., Naqvi O., Matson D., Stone J. 
SARS-CoV-2 B.1.617.2 (Delta) Variant COVID-19 Outbreak Associated 
with a Gymnastics Facility--Oklahoma, April-May 2021. MMWR Morb 
Mortal Wkly Rep 2021;70:1004-1007. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm7028e2 (describing a B.1.617.2 (Delta) Variant COVID-19 
outbreak associated with a gymnastics facility and finding that the 
Delta variant is highly transmissible in indoor sports settings and 
households, which might lead to increased incidence rates).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Currently, the Delta variant is the predominant SARS-CoV-2 strain 
circulating in the United States, estimated to account for over 82% of 
cases as of July 17, 2021.\23\ The Delta variant has demonstrated 
increased levels of transmissibility compared to other variants.\24\ 
Furthermore, early evidence suggests that people who are vaccinated and 
become infected with the Delta variant may transmit the virus to 
others.\25\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \23\ Variant Proportions, Centers for Disease Control and 
Prevention, https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#variant-proportions (citing data for the two-week interval ending July 17, 
2021).
    \24\ About Variants of the Virus that Causes COVID-19, Centers 
for Disease Control and Prevention, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/variants/variant.html (last updated June 28, 2021).
    \25\ Riemersma et al. Vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals 
have similar viral loads in communities with a high prevalence of 
the SARS-CoV-2 Delta variant. Pre-print. Available at https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.07.31.21261387v1.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Transmission of the Delta variant has led to accelerated community 
transmission in the United States. CDC recommends assessing the level 
of community transmission using, at a minimum, two metrics: new COVID-
19 cases per 100,000 persons in the last 7 days and percentage of 
positive SARS-CoV-2 diagnostic nucleic acid amplification tests in the 
last 7 days. For each of these metrics, CDC classifies transmission 
values as low, moderate, substantial, or high. As of August 1, 2021, 
over 80% of the U.S. counties were classified as experiencing 
substantial or high levels of community transmission.\26\ In areas of 
substantial or high transmission, CDC recommends community leaders 
encourage vaccination and universal masking in indoor public spaces in 
addition to other layered prevention strategies to prevent further 
spread.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \26\ COVID-19 Integrated County View, Centers for Disease 
Control and Prevention, https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#county-view (last updated July 28, 2021).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    COVID-19 vaccines are now widely available in the United States, 
and vaccination is recommended for all people 12 years of age and 
older. Three COVID-19 vaccines are currently authorized by the U.S. 
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for emergency use: Two mRNA vaccines 
and one viral vector vaccine, each of which has been determined to be 
safe and effective against COVID-19. As of July 28, 2021, over 163 
million people in the United States (57.6% of the population 12 years 
or older) have been fully vaccinated and

[[Page 43247]]

over 189 million people in the United States (66.8% of the population 
12 years or older) have received at least one dose.\27\ Changes in 
vaccine uptake and the extreme transmissibility of the Delta variant 
have resulted in rising numbers of COVID-19 cases, primarily and 
disproportionately affecting the unvaccinated population.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \27\ COVID-19 Vaccinations in the United States, Centers for 
Disease Control and Prevention, https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#vaccinations (last updated July 28, 2021).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The COVID-19 vaccination effort has a slower rate of penetration 
among the populations most likely to experience 
eviction.28 29 In combination with the continued underlying 
COVID-19 spread, and the overlapping factors described above, this 
creates considerable risk for rapid transmission of COVID-19 in high-
risk settings.
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    \28\ Barry V., Dasgupta S., Weller D.L., et al. Patterns in 
COVID-19 Vaccination Coverage, by Social Vulnerability and 
Urbanicity--United States, December 14, 2020-May 1, 2021. MMWR Morb 
Mortal Wkly Rep 2021;70:818-824. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm7022e1.
    \29\ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. COVID-19 
Vaccination Equity. Accessed 8/3/21. Available at: https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#vaccination-equity.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    In the context of a pandemic, eviction moratoria--like quarantine, 
isolation, and social distancing--can be an effective public health 
measure utilized to prevent the spread of communicable disease. 
Eviction moratoria facilitate self-isolation and self-quarantine by 
people who become ill or who are at risk of transmitting COVID-19.
    Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security 
(CARES) Act (Pub. L. 116-136) to aid individuals and businesses 
adversely affected by COVID-19 in March 2020. Section 4024 of the CARES 
Act provided a 120-day moratorium on eviction filings as well as other 
protections for tenants in certain rental properties with federal 
assistance or federally related mortgage financing. These protections 
helped alleviate the public health consequences of tenant displacement 
during the COVID-19 pandemic. The CARES Act eviction moratorium expired 
on July 24, 2020. The protections in the CARES Act supplemented 
temporary eviction moratoria and rent freezes implemented by governors 
and other local officials using emergency powers.
    Researchers estimated that this temporary federal moratorium 
provided relief to over one-quarter a material portion of the nation's 
roughly 43 million renters.\30\ The CARES act also provided funding 
streams for emergency rental assistance; surveys estimate that this 
assistance became available to the public through rental assistance 
programs by July 2020.\31\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \30\ Laurie Goodman, Karan Kaul, and Michael Neal. The CARES Act 
Eviction Moratorium Covers All Federally Financed Rentals--That's 
One in Four US Rental Units. The Urban Institute. April 2, 2020. 
https://www.urban.org/urban-wire/cares-act-eviction-moratorium-covers-all-federally-financed-rentals-thats-one-four-us-rental-units.
    \31\ Vincent Reina et al, COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance: 
Analysis of a National Survey of Programs, Research Brief, https://nlihc.org/sites/default/files/HIP_NLIHC_Furman_Brief_FINAL.pdf (last 
visited Mar. 26, 2021).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The Federal moratorium provided by the CARES Act, however, did not 
reach all renters. Many renters who fell outside the scope of the 
Federal moratorium were instead protected under state and local 
moratoria. In early March 2021, the Census Household Pulse Survey 
estimated that 6.4 million households were behind on rent and just 
under half fear imminent eviction.\32\ In 2016, research showed that 
there were 3.6 million eviction filings and 1.5 million eviction 
judgments over the span of a whole year,\33\ meaning that the pandemic 
would cause a wave of evictions on a scale that would be unprecedented 
in modern times. A large portion of those who are evicted may move into 
close quarters in shared housing or, as discussed below, become 
homeless, thus becoming at higher risk of COVID-19.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \32\ Census Household Pulse Survey: Key Phase 3 Housing Payment 
Findings. Office of Policy Development and Research, HUDUser (April 
26, 2021). https://www.huduser.gov/portal/pdredge/pdr-edge-trending-042621.html.
    \33\ Ashley Gromis. Eviction: Intersection of Poverty, 
Inequality, and Housing. Eviction Lab, Princeton University (May 
2019). https://www.un.org/development/desa/dspd/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2019/05/GROMIS_Ashley_Paper.pdf.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    On September 4, 2020, the CDC Director issued an Order temporarily 
halting evictions in the United States for the reasons described 
therein. That Order was set to expire on December 31, 2020, subject to 
further extension, modification, or rescission. Section 502 of Title V, 
Division N of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 extended the 
Order until January 31, 2021, and approved the Order as an exercise of 
the CDC's authority under Section 361 of the Public Health Service Act 
(42 U.S.C. 264). With the extension of the Order, Congress also 
provided $25 billion for emergency rental assistance for the payment of 
rent and rental arrears. Congress later provided an additional $21.55 
billion in emergency rental assistance when it passed the American 
Rescue Plan Act of 2021. The Order was extended multiple times due to 
the changing public health landscape and expired on July 31, 2021 after 
what was intended to be the final extension.\34\ Absent an unexpected 
change in the trajectory of the pandemic, CDC did not plan to extend 
the Order further.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \34\ The CDC Director renewed the Order until March 31, 2021. On 
March 28, 2021, the CDC Director modified and extended the Order 
until June 30, 2021. On June 24, 2021 the CDC Director extended the 
Order until July 31, 2021.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Following the recent surge in cases brought forth by the highly 
transmissible Delta variant, the CDC Director now issues a new Order 
temporarily halting evictions for persons in counties experiencing 
substantial or high rates of transmission, for the reasons described 
herein. This Order will expire on October 3, 2021, but is subject to 
further extension, modification, or rescission based on public health 
circumstances.
    Researchers estimate that, in 2020, Federal, state, and local 
eviction moratoria led to over 1.5 million fewer evictions filings than 
the previous year.\35\ Additional research shows that, despite the CDC 
eviction moratorium leading to an estimated 50% decrease in eviction 
filings compared to the historical average,\36\ there have still been 
over 450,000 eviction filings during the pandemic just within 
approximately 31 cities and six states with more readily available 
data. This data covers approximately 1 in 4 renter households in the 
country, suggesting high demand and likelihood of mass evictions 
nationwide.\37\
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    \35\ Hepburn P., Louis R., Fish J., et al. U.S. Eviction Filing 
Patterns in 2020. Socius. January 2021. doi:10.1177/
23780231211009983.
    \36\ Peter Hepburn and Renee Louis. Preliminary Analysis: Six 
Months of the CDC Eviction Moratorium (March 8, 2021). https://evictionlab.org/six-months-cdc/.
    \37\ Eviction Lab. Accessed 8/2/21. Available at: https://evictionlab.org/eviction-tracking/.
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Eviction, Crowding, and Interstate Transmission of COVID-19
    By February 10, 2021, the U.S. Department of the Treasury had paid 
all of the $25 billion made available by the Consolidated 
Appropriations Act, 2021 to states, territories, localities and tribes 
for the purpose of providing emergency rental assistance to eligible 
households in their jurisdictions. Additionally, as directed in the 
Act, Treasury has also made available 40 percent--more than $8.6 
billion--of the additional funding to states, territories and 
localities for emergency rental assistance provided in the American 
Rescue Plan Act of 2021. While some emergency rental assistance 
programs were slow to open, every State program had opened by early 
June. Based on data collected from grantees, Treasury reports that over 
85,000 renter households received rental and utility

[[Page 43248]]

assistance to support their housing stability by the end of March and 
this number increased to more than 100,000 in April, more than 156,000 
in May and over 290,000 in June. Though emergency rental assistance has 
clearly started to reach increasing numbers of families over recent 
months, state and local agencies have hundreds of thousands of 
applications for assistance that currently remain outstanding as 
programs accelerate their activity. The level of assistance continued 
to increase in June, with nearly 300,000 households served. Based on 
analysis of grantee reporting, Treasury believes that the monthly 
deployment of rental assistance by state and local emergency rental 
assistance programs will continue to increase from the significant 
deployment in June. In addition to Emergency Rental Assistance, there 
are coordinated efforts across Federal agencies to--in partnership with 
states and localities--promote eviction prevention strategies.
    Recent data from the U.S. Census Household Pulse Survey 
demonstrates that just under half of households behind on rent believe 
that an eviction is likely in the next two months.\38\ A surge in 
evictions could lead to the immediate and significant movement of large 
numbers of persons from lower density to higher density housing at a 
time in the United States when the highly transmissible Delta variant 
is driving COVID-19 cases at an unprecedented rate.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \38\ Household Pulse Survey Interactive Tool. U.S. Census 
Bureau. https://www.census.gov/data-tools/demo/hhp/#/ (last visited 
June 23, 2021).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Evicted renters must move, which leads to multiple outcomes that 
increase the risk of COVID-19 spread. Specifically, many evicted 
renters move into close quarters in shared housing or other congregate 
settings. These moves may require crossing state borders. According to 
the 2017 Census Bureau American Housing Survey, 32% of renters reported 
that they would move in with friends or family members upon eviction, 
which would introduce new household members and potentially increase 
household crowding. Studies show that COVID-19 transmission occurs 
readily within households. The secondary attack rate in households has 
been estimated to be 17%, and household contacts are estimated to be 6 
times more likely to become infected by an index case of COVID-19 than 
other close contacts.\39\ A study of pregnant women in New York City 
showed that women in large households (greater number of residents per 
household) were three times as likely to test positive for SARS-CoV-2 
than those in smaller households, and those in neighborhoods with 
greater household crowding (>1 resident per room) were twice as likely 
to test positive.\40\ Throughout the United States, counties with the 
highest proportion of crowded households have experienced COVID-19 
mortality rates 2.6 times those of counties with the lowest proportion 
of crowded households.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \39\ Qin-Long Jing, et al. Household secondary attack rate of 
COVID-19 and associated determinants in Guangzhou, China: a 
retrospective cohort study. The Lancet. 2020 June 17; vol. 20.10; 
doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/S1473-3099(20)30471-0.
    \40\ Ukachi N. Emeruwa, et al. Associations Between Built 
Environment, Neighborhood Socioeconomic Status, and SARS-CoV-2 
Infection Among Pregnant Women in New York City. JAMA. 
2020;324(4):390-392. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.11370.
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    Shared housing is not limited to friends and family. It includes a 
broad range of settings, including transitional housing and domestic 
violence and abuse shelters. Special considerations exist for such 
housing because of the challenges of maintaining social distance. 
Residents often gather closely or use shared equipment, such as kitchen 
appliances, laundry facilities, stairwells, and elevators. Residents 
may have unique needs, such as disabilities, chronic health conditions, 
cognitive decline, or limited access to technology, and thus may find 
it more difficult to take actions to protect themselves from COVID-19. 
CDC recommends that shelters provide new residents with a clean mask, 
keep them isolated from others, screen for symptoms at entry, or 
arrange for medical evaluations as needed depending on symptoms. 
Accordingly, an influx of new residents at facilities that offer 
support services could potentially overwhelm staff and, if 
recommendations are not followed, lead to exposures.
    Modeling studies and observational data from the pre-vaccine phase 
of the COVID-19 pandemic comparing incidence between states that 
implemented and lifted eviction moratoria indicate that evictions 
substantially contribute to COVID-19 transmission. In mathematical 
models where eviction led exclusively to sharing housing with friends 
or family, lifting eviction moratoria led to a 30% increased risk of 
contracting COVID-19 among people who were evicted and those with whom 
they shared housing after eviction.\41\ Compared to a scenario where no 
evictions occurred, the models also predicted a 4%-40% increased risk 
of infection, even for those who did not share housing, as a result of 
increased overall transmission. The authors estimated that anywhere 
from 1,000 to 100,000 excess cases per million population could be 
attributable to evictions depending on the eviction and infection 
rates.
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    \41\ Nande A, Sheen J, Walters EL, Klein B, Chinazzi M, Gheorghe 
AH, Adlam B, Shinnick J, Tejeda MF, Scarpino SV, Vespignani A, 
Greenlee AJ, Schneider D, Levy MZ, Hill AL. The effect of eviction 
moratoria on the transmission of SARS-CoV-2. Nat Commun. 2021 Apr 
15;12(1):2274. doi: 10.1038/s41467-021-22521-5. PMID: 33859196; 
PMCID: PMC8050248.
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    An analysis of observational data from state-based eviction 
moratoria in 43 states and the District of Columbia showed significant 
increases in COVID-19 incidence and mortality approximately 2-3 months 
after eviction moratoria were lifted.\42\ Specifically, the authors 
compared the COVID-19 incidence and mortality rates in states that 
lifted their moratoria with the rates in states that maintained their 
moratoria. In these models, the authors accounted for time-varying 
indicators of each state's test count as well as major public-health 
interventions including lifting stay-at-home orders, school closures, 
and mask mandates. After adjusting for these other changes, they found 
that the incidence of COVID-19 in states that lifted their moratoria 
was 1.6 times that of states that did not at 10 weeks post-lifting (95% 
CI 1.0, 2.3), a ratio that grew to 2.1 at >=16 weeks (CI 1.1, 3.9). 
Similarly, they found that mortality in states that lifted their 
moratoria was 1.6 times that of states that did not at 7 weeks post-
lifting (CI 1.2, 2.3), a ratio that grew to 5.4 at >=16 weeks (CI 3.1, 
9.3). The authors estimated that, nationally, over 433,000 cases of 
COVID-19 and over 10,000 deaths could be attributed to lifting state 
moratoria.\43\
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    \42\ Leifheit KM, Linton SL, Raifman J, Schwartz GL, Benfer EA, 
Zimmerman FJ, Pollack CE. Expiring Eviction Moratoriums and COVID-19 
Incidence and Mortality. Am J Epidemiol. 2021 Jul 26:kwab196. doi: 
10.1093/aje/kwab196. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34309643.
    \43\ Leifheit, Kathryn M. and Linton, Sabriya L. and Raifman, 
Julia and Schwartz, Gabriel and Benfer, Emily and Zimmerman, 
Frederick J and Pollack, Craig, Expiring Eviction Moratoriums and 
COVID-19 Incidence and Mortality (November 30, 2020). Available at 
SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3739576 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3739576.
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    Although data are limited, available evidence suggests evictions 
lead to interstate spread of COVID-19 in two ways. First, an eviction 
may lead the evicted members of a household to move across state lines. 
Of the 35 million people in America who move each year, 15% move to a 
new state. Second, even if a particular eviction, standing alone, would 
not always result in interstate displacement, the mass

[[Page 43249]]

evictions that would occur in the absence of this Order would 
inevitably increase the interstate spread of COVID-19. This Order 
cannot effectively mitigate interstate transmission of COVID-19 without 
covering intrastate evictions (evictions occurring within the 
boundaries of a state or territory), as the level of spread of SARS-
CoV-2 resulting from these evictions can lead to SARS-CoV-2 
transmission across state borders.
    Moreover, intrastate spread facilitates interstate spread in the 
context of communicable disease spread, given the nature of infectious 
disease. In the aggregate, the mass-scale evictions that will likely 
occur in the absence of this Order in areas of substantial or high 
transmission will inevitably increase interstate spread of COVID-19.
Eviction, Homelessness, and COVID-19 Transmission
    Evicted individuals without access to support or other assistance 
options may become homeless, including older adults or those with 
underlying medical conditions, who are more at risk for severe illness 
from COVID-19 than the general population. In Seattle-King County, 5-
15% of people experiencing homelessness between 2018 and 2020 cited 
eviction as the primary reason for becoming homeless.\44\ Additionally, 
some individuals and families who are evicted may originally stay with 
family or friends, but subsequently seek homeless services. Data 
collection by an emergency shelter in Columbus, Ohio, showed that 35.4% 
of families and 11.4% of single adults reported an eviction as the 
primary or secondary reason for their seeking shelter.\45\
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    \44\ Count Us In 2020. KCRHA (July 2020). https://kcrha.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/Count-Us_In-2020-Final_7.29.2020.pdf.
    \45\ Chester Hartman and David Robinson. ``Evictions: The Hidden 
Housing Problem'' in Housing Policy Debate. 2003.
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    Extensive outbreaks of COVID-19 have been identified in homeless 
shelters. In Seattle, Washington, a network of three related homeless 
shelters experienced an outbreak that led to 43 cases among residents 
and staff members. In Boston, Massachusetts, universal COVID-19 testing 
at a single shelter revealed 147 cases, representing 36% of shelter 
residents. COVID-19 testing in a single shelter in San Francisco led to 
the identification of 101 cases (67% of those tested). Data from 634 
universal diagnostic testing events at homeless shelters in 21 states 
show an average of 6% positivity among shelter clients. Data comparing 
the incidence or severity of COVID-19 among people experiencing 
homelessness directly to the general population are limited. However, 
during the 15-day period of the outbreak in Boston, MA, researchers 
estimated a cumulative incidence of 46.3 cases of COVID-19 per 1000 
persons experiencing homelessness, as compared to 1.9 cases per 1000 
among Massachusetts adults (pre-print).
    Among other things, CDC guidance recommends increasing physical 
distance between beds in homeless shelters, which is likely to decrease 
capacity, while community transmission of COVID-19 is occurring. To 
adhere to this guidance, shelters have limited the number of people 
served throughout the United States. In many places, considerably fewer 
beds are available to individuals who become homeless. Shelters that do 
not adhere to the guidance, and operate at ordinary or increased 
occupancy, are at greater risk for the types of outbreaks described 
above.
Application of COVID-19 Prevention Strategies Based on Community 
Transmission
    CDC recommends strengthening or adding effective COVID-19 
mitigation strategies in communities with considerable transmission 
risk. As discussed above, CDC guidance specifies that everyone, 
regardless of vaccination status, should wear masks in indoor and 
public settings in communities experiencing substantial or high rates 
of community transmission. Similarly, CDC guidance for homeless 
shelters recommends maintaining layered COVID-19 precautions as long as 
community transmission is occurring and provides options for scaling 
back precautions when community transmission is low.\46\
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    \46\ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Interim 
Guidance for Homeless Service Providers to Plan and Respond to 
Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/homeless-shelters/plan-prepare-respond.html.
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    Eviction moratoria represent a COVID-19 transmission prevention 
measure that can similarly be applied when the epidemiological context 
is appropriate, for example in communities with substantial or high 
transmission of COVID-19.\47\ Prevention strategies like these should 
only be relaxed or lifted after two weeks of continuous sustained 
improvement in the level of community transmission. In areas with low 
or no SARS-CoV-2 transmission and with testing capacity in place to 
detect early introduction or increases in spread of the virus, layered 
prevention strategies might be removed one at a time while monitoring 
closely for any evidence that COVID-19 cases are increasing. Decisions 
to add or remove prevention strategies should be based on local data 
and public health recommendations. The emergence of more transmissible 
SARS-CoV-2 variants, including Delta, increases the urgency for public 
health agencies and other organizations to collaboratively monitor the 
status of the pandemic in their communities and continue to apply 
layered prevention strategies.
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    \47\ Of course, eviction moratoria are only effective to the 
degree that consumers know about them and to the degree they are 
complied with by landlords, owners of residential property, others 
who have a right to evict, or their agents.
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Persons at Higher Risk of Eviction May Also Be at Higher Risk of Being 
Unvaccinated
    Communities with high rates of eviction have been shown to have 
lower coverage of COVID-19 vaccination--a focus for current vaccination 
campaigns. A study in the spring of 2021 showed that counties with high 
social vulnerability (i.e., social and structural factors associated 
with adverse health outcome inclusive of socioeconomic indicators 
related to risk of eviction) had lower levels of COVID-19 
vaccination.\48\
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    \48\ Barry V, Dasgupta S, Weller DL, Kriss JL, Cadwell BL, Rose 
C, Pingali C, Musial T, Sharpe JD, Flores SA, Greenlund KJ, Patel A, 
Stewart A, Qualters JR, Harris L, Barbour KE, Black CL. Patterns in 
COVID-19 Vaccination Coverage, by Social Vulnerability and 
Urbanicity--United States, December 14, 2020-May 1, 2021. MMWR Morb 
Mortal Wkly Rep. 2021 Jun 4;70(22):818-824. doi: 10.15585/
mmwr.mm7022e1. PMID: 34081685; PMCID: PMC8174677.
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CDC Eviction Moratorium

    The Department of the Treasury has made funding available to 
states, territories, localities, and Tribal governments, which continue 
to distribute emergency rental assistance funds that may help mitigate 
spikes in COVID-19 transmission due to increases in evictions. 
Alongside other federal and state efforts to prevent evictions, these 
funds are expected to make a meaningful difference for hundreds of 
thousands of people who are expected to receive the rental 
assistance.\49\
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    \49\ Treasury Emergency Rental Assistance Programs in 2021: 
Analysis of a National Survey. National Low Income Housing 
Coalition. June 2021. https://nlihc.org/sites/default/files/HIP_NLIHC_Furman_2021_6-22_FINAL_v2.pdf.
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    On September 4, 2020, the CDC Director issued an Order temporarily 
halting evictions in the United States for the reasons described 
therein. That Order was set to expire on December 31, 2020, subject to 
further extension, modification, or rescission. Section 502 of Title V, 
Division N of the

[[Page 43250]]

Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 extended the Order until January 
31, 2021. With the extension of the Order, Congress also provided $25 
billion for emergency rental assistance for the payment of rent and 
rental arrears. Congress later provided an additional $21.55 billion in 
emergency rental assistance when it passed the American Rescue Plan.
    On January 29, 2021, following an assessment of the ongoing 
pandemic, the CDC Director renewed the Order until March 31, 2021. On 
March 28, the CDC Director renewed the Order until June 30, 2021. On 
June 24, the CDC Director renewed the Order until July 31, 2021 (July 
Order). The CDC Director indicated that the July Order would be the 
final extension of the nationwide eviction moratorium absent an 
unexpected change in the trajectory of the pandemic. Unfortunately, the 
rise of the Delta variant and corresponding rise in cases in numerous 
counties in the United States have altered the trajectory of the 
pandemic. As a result, CDC is issuing this narrower, more targeted 
Order to temporarily halt evictions in the hardest hit areas. Without 
this Order, evictions in these areas would likely exacerbate the 
increase in cases. To the extent any provision of this Order conflicts 
with prior Orders, this Order is controlling.

Applicability

    This Order applies in U.S. counties \50\ experiencing substantial 
\51\ and high \52\ levels of community transmission levels of SARS-CoV-
2 as defined by CDC, as of August 3, 2021. If a U.S. county that is not 
covered by this Order as of August 3, 2021 later experiences 
substantial or high levels of community transmission while this Order 
is in effect, then that county will become subject to this Order as of 
the date the county begins experiencing substantial or high levels of 
community transmission. If a U.S. county that is covered by this Order 
no longer experiences substantial or high levels of community 
transmission for 14 consecutive days, then this Order will no longer 
apply in that county, unless and until the county again experiences 
substantial or high levels of community transmission while this Order 
is in effect.
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    \50\ As used in this Order, the term ``county'' refers to both 
counties in the United States and U.S. territories.
    \51\ Supra note 7.
    \52\ Supra. note 8.
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    This Order does not apply in any state, local, territorial, or 
tribal area with a moratorium on residential evictions that provides 
the same or greater level of public-health protection than the 
requirements listed in this Order or to the extent its application is 
prohibited by Federal court order. In accordance with 42 U.S.C. 264(e), 
this Order does not preclude state, local, territorial, and tribal 
authorities from imposing additional requirements that provide greater 
public-health protection and are more restrictive than the requirements 
in this Order.
    This Order is a temporary eviction moratorium to prevent the 
further spread of COVID-19. This Order does not relieve any individual 
of any obligation to pay rent, make a housing payment, or comply with 
any other obligation that the individual may have under a tenancy, 
lease, or similar contract. Nothing in this Order precludes the 
charging or collecting of fees, penalties, or interest as a result of 
the failure to pay rent or other housing payment on a timely basis, 
under the terms of any applicable contract.
    Nothing in this Order precludes evictions based on a tenant, 
lessee, or resident: (1) Engaging in criminal activity while on the 
premises; (2) threatening the health or safety of other residents; \53\ 
(3) damaging or posing an immediate and significant risk of damage to 
property; (4) violating any applicable building code, health ordinance, 
or similar regulation relating to health and safety; or (5) violating 
any other contractual obligation, other than the timely payment of rent 
or similar housing-related payment (including non-payment or late 
payment of fees, penalties, or interest).
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    \53\ Individuals who might have COVID-19 are advised to stay 
home except to get medical care. Accordingly, individuals who might 
have COVID-19 and take reasonable precautions to not spread the 
disease should not be evicted on the ground that they may pose a 
health or safety threat to other residents. See What to Do if You 
are Sick, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/steps-when-sick.html (last updated Mar. 17, 2021).
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    Any evictions for nonpayment of rent initiated prior to issuance of 
this Order but not yet completed, are subject to this Order. Any 
tenant, lessee, or resident of a residential property who previously 
submitted a Declaration, still qualifies as a ``Covered Person'' and is 
still present in a rental unit is entitled to protections under this 
Order. Any eviction that was completed before issuance of this Order 
including from August 1 through August 3, 2021 is not subject to this 
Order, as it does not operate retroactively.
    Under this Order, covered persons may be evicted for engaging in 
criminal activity while on the premises. But covered persons may not be 
evicted on the sole basis that they are alleged to have committed the 
crime of trespass (or similar state-law offense) where the underlying 
activity is a covered person remaining in a residential property for 
nonpayment of rent. Permitting such evictions would result in 
substantially more evictions overall, thus increasing the risk of 
disease transmission as otherwise covered persons move into congregate 
settings or experience homelessness. This result would be contrary to 
the stated objectives of this Order, and therefore would diminish their 
effectiveness. Moreover, to the extent such criminal trespass laws are 
invoked to establish criminal activity solely based on a tenant, 
lessee, or resident of a residential property remaining in a 
residential property despite the nonpayment of rent, such invocation 
conflicts with this Order and is preempted pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 
264(e).
    Individuals who are confirmed to have, who have been exposed to, or 
who might have COVID-19 and take reasonable precautions to not spread 
the disease may not be evicted on grounds that they may pose a health 
or safety threat to other residents.
    This Order is in effect through October 3, 2021, based on the 
current and projected epidemiological context of SARS-CoV-2 
transmission throughout the United States. This timeframe will allow 
the assessment of natural changes to COVID-19 incidence, the influences 
of new variants, additional distribution of emergency rental assistance 
funds, and the expansion of COVID-19 vaccine uptake.

Declaration Forms

    To qualify for the protections of this Order, a tenant, lessee, or 
resident of a residential property must provide a completed and signed 
copy of a declaration with the elements listed in the definition of 
``Covered person'' to their landlord, owner of the residential property 
where they live, or other person who has a right to have them evicted 
or removed from where they live. To assist tenants and landlords, the 
CDC created a standardized declaration form that can be downloaded 
here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/declaration-form.pdf.
    Tenants, lessees, and residents of residential property are not 
obligated to use the CDC form. Any written document that an eligible 
tenant, lessee, or resident of residential property presents to their 
landlord will comply with this Order, as long as it contains the 
required elements of ``Covered person'' as described in this Order. In

[[Page 43251]]

addition, tenants, lessees, and residents of residential property are 
allowed to declare in writing that they meet the elements of ``Covered 
person'' in other languages.
    All declarations, regardless of form used, must be signed, and must 
include a statement that the tenant, lessee, or resident of a 
residential property understands that they could be liable for perjury 
for any false or misleading statements or omissions in the declaration. 
This Order does not preclude a landlord challenging the truthfulness of 
a tenant's, lessee's, or resident's declaration in court, as permitted 
under state or local law.
    In certain circumstances, such as individuals filing a joint tax 
return, it may be appropriate for one member of the residence to 
provide an executed declaration on behalf of the other adult residents 
party to the lease, rental agreement, or housing contract. The 
declaration may be signed and transmitted either electronically or by 
hard copy.
    As long as the information in a previously signed declaration 
submitted under a previous order remains truthful and accurate, covered 
persons do not need to submit a new declaration under this Order. 
However, eligibility for protection will be based on the terms of this 
Order.

Findings and Action

Determination
    For the reasons described herein, I have determined based on the 
information below that issuing a temporary halt in evictions in 
counties experiencing substantial or high levels of COVID-19 
transmission constitutes a reasonably necessary measure under 42 CFR 
70.2 to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 throughout the United 
States. I have further determined that measures by states, localities, 
or territories that do not meet or exceed these minimum protections are 
insufficient to prevent the interstate spread of COVID-19.
    State and local jurisdictions continue to distribute emergency 
rental assistance funds, provided by the Department of Treasury, that 
will help avert a spate of evictions and thus mitigate corresponding 
spikes in COVID-19 transmission. Trends have dramatically worsened 
since June 2021 and transmission is rapidly accelerating in the United 
States.\54\
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    \54\ COVID Data Tracker, Centers for Disease Control and 
Prevention, https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#trends_dailytrendscases (last updated June 22, 2021).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Congress has appropriated approximately $46 billion--of which 
almost three-quarters is currently available to state and local 
grantees--to help pay rent and rental arrears for tenants who may 
otherwise be at high risk of eviction. According to estimates based on 
the U.S. Census Household Pulse Survey, approximately 6.9 million 
renter households were behind on their rent in late June. At that time, 
about 4.6 million renter households were concerned that they could not 
pay next month's rent. The successful delivery of those funds by states 
and localities should greatly reduce the incidence of eviction that 
would occur in the absence of that support. However, many states and 
localities are still ramping up the collection and processing of 
applications and the delivery of assistance and putting in place other 
eviction prevention strategies. It was only in the beginning of June 
that all state-run emergency rental assistance programs had opened for 
applications. If the moratorium is not in place, a wave of evictions, 
on the order of hundreds of thousands, could occur in late summer and 
early fall, exacerbating the spread of COVID-19 among the significant 
percentage of the population that remains unvaccinated. In 
appropriating these emergency rental assistance funds, Congress 
intended that the funding would work in concert with the eviction 
moratorium, providing time for rental assistance to reach eligible 
tenants and landlords to sustainably reduce the threat of an eviction 
wave after an eviction moratorium was no longer in effect. While the 
pace of assistance is continuing to increase, without additional time 
for states and localities to deliver this needed relief and engage in 
other efforts to prevent evictions, a surge of evictions would occur 
upon the conclusion of the national moratorium. A surge in evictions 
would lead to immediate movement, crowding, and increased stress on the 
homeless service system. In combination with surging COVID-19 rates 
across the country, and the overlapping factors described above, this 
would create considerable risk for the rapid transmission of COVID-19 
in high-risk settings.
    Based on the convergence of these issues, I have determined that 
issuing a new Order temporarily halting evictions is appropriate.
    Accordingly, a landlord, owner of a residential property, or other 
person with a legal right to pursue eviction or possessory action shall 
not evict any covered person from any residential property in any 
county or U.S. territory while COVID-19 transmission is substantial or 
high and the relevant state, county, locality, or territory has 
provided a level of public-health protections below the requirements 
listed in this Order.
    This Order is not a rule within the meaning of the Administrative 
Procedure Act (APA) but rather an emergency action taken under the 
existing authority of 42 CFR 70.2. The purpose of section 70.2, which 
was promulgated through notice-and-comment rulemaking, is to enable CDC 
to take swift steps to prevent contagion without having to seek a 
second round of public comments and without a delay in effective 
date.\55\
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    \55\ Chambless Enters., LLC v. Redfield, No. 20-1455, 2020 WL 
7588849 (W.D. La. 2020).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Good Cause
    In the event this Order qualifies as a rule under the APA, there is 
good cause to dispense with prior public notice and comment and a delay 
in effective date. See 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B), (d)(3). Good cause exists, 
in sum, because the public health emergency caused by the COVID-19 
pandemic and the unpredictability of the trajectory of the pandemic 
make it impracticable and contrary to the public health, and by 
extension the public interest, to delay the issuance and effective date 
of this Order.
    I have determined that good cause exists because the public health 
emergency caused by COVID-19 makes it impracticable and contrary to the 
public health, and by extension the public interest, to delay the 
issuance and effective date of the Order. A delay in the effective date 
of the Order would permit the occurrence of evictions--potentially on a 
mass scale--that would have potentially significant public health 
consequences. I conclude that the delay in the effective date of the 
Order would defeat the purpose of the Order and endanger the public 
health and, therefore, determine that immediate action is necessary.
    The rapidly changing nature of the pandemic requires not only that 
CDC act swiftly, but also deftly to ensure that its actions are 
commensurate with the threat. This necessarily involves assessing 
evolving conditions that inform CDC's determinations. Despite promising 
trends in the spring of 2021, the surge of cases spurred by the Delta 
variant has confirmed that the fundamental public health threat--of the 
risk of large numbers of residential evictions contributing to the 
spread of COVID-19 throughout the United States--continues to exist. 
Without this Order, there is every reason to expect that evictions will 
increase dramatically

[[Page 43252]]

at a time when COVID-19 infections in the United States are increasing 
sharply. It is imperative that public health authorities act quickly to 
mitigate such an increase of evictions, which could increase the 
likelihood of new spikes in SARS-CoV-2 transmission. Such mass 
evictions and the attendant public health consequences would be very 
difficult to reverse.
    For all of these reasons, I hereby conclude that immediate action 
is again necessary and that notice-and-comment rulemaking and a delay 
in effective date would be impracticable and contrary to the public 
interest.
Miscellaneous
    Similarly, if this Order qualifies as a rule under the APA, the 
Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) has determined that 
it would be an economically significant regulatory action pursuant to 
Executive Order 12866 and a major rule under Subtitle E of the Small 
Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (the Congressional 
Review Act or CRA), 5 U.S.C. 804(2). Thus, this action has been 
reviewed by OIRA. CDC has determined that for the same reasons given 
above, there would be good cause under the CRA to make the requirements 
herein effective immediately. 5 U.S.C. 808(2).
    If any provision of this Order, or the application of any provision 
to any persons, entities, or circumstances, shall be held invalid, the 
remainder of the provisions, or the application of such provisions to 
any persons, entities, or circumstances other than those to which it is 
held invalid, shall remain valid and in effect.
    This Order shall be enforced by federal authorities and cooperating 
state and local authorities through the provisions of 18 U.S.C. 3559, 
3571; 42 U.S.C. 243, 268, 271; and 42 CFR 70.18. However, this Order 
has no effect on the contractual obligations of renters to pay rent and 
shall not preclude charging or collecting fees, penalties, or interest 
as a result of the failure to pay rent or other housing payment on a 
timely basis, under the terms of any applicable contract.

Criminal Penalties

    Under 18 U.S.C. 3559, 3571; 42 U.S.C. 271; and 42 CFR 70.18, a 
person violating this Order may be subject to a fine of no more than 
$100,000 or one year in jail, or both, if the violation does not result 
in a death, or a fine of no more than $250,000 or one year in jail, or 
both if the violation results in a death, or as otherwise provided by 
law. An organization violating this Order may be subject to a fine of 
no more than $200,000 per event if the violation does not result in a 
death or $500,000 per event if the violation results in a death or as 
otherwise provided by law. The U.S. Department of Justice may initiate 
criminal proceedings as appropriate seeking imposition of these 
criminal penalties.

Notice to Cooperating State and Local Officials

    Under 42 U.S.C. 243, the U.S. Department of Health and Human 
Services is authorized to cooperate with and aid state and local 
authorities in the enforcement of their quarantine and other health 
regulations and to accept state and local assistance in the enforcement 
of Federal quarantine rules and regulations, including in the 
enforcement of this Order.

Notice of Available Federal Resources

    While this Order to prevent eviction is effectuated to protect the 
public health, the states and units of local government are reminded 
that the Federal Government has deployed unprecedented resources to 
address the pandemic, including housing assistance.
    The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the 
Department of Agriculture, and the Department of the Treasury have 
informed CDC that unprecedented emergency resources have been 
appropriated through various Federal agencies that assist renters and 
landlords during the pandemic, including $46.55 billion to the Treasury 
through the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 and the American 
Rescue Plan (ARP). Furthermore, in 2020 44 states and 310 local 
jurisdictions allocated about $3.9 billion toward emergency rental 
assistance, largely from funds appropriated to HUD from the Coronavirus 
Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES).\56\ These three rounds of 
federal appropriations also provided substantial resources for homeless 
services, homeowner assistance, and supplemental stimulus and 
unemployment benefits that low-income renters used to pay rent.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \56\ Vincent Reina et al, COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance: 
Analysis of a National Survey of Programs, Research Brief, https://nlihc.org/sites/default/files/HIP_NLIHC_Furman_Brief_FINAL.pdf (last 
visited Mar. 26, 2021).
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    Visit https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#county-view for an 
integrated, county view of levels of community transmission for 
monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States. Visit https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/cares/state-and-local-governments for 
more information about the Coronavirus Relief Fund and https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/cares/emergency-rental-assistance-program for more information about the Emergency Rental Assistance 
Program. Visit www.consumerfinance.gov/renthelp to access the Rental 
Assistance Finder that connects renters and landlords with the state 
and local programs that are distributing billions of dollars in federal 
assistance. Relevant agencies have informed CDC that forbearance 
policies for mortgages backed by the federal government provide many 
landlords, especially smaller landlords, with temporary relief as new 
emergency rental assistance programs are deployed.
    Treasury, HUD, and USDA grantees and program participants play a 
critical role in prioritizing efforts to support this goal. All 
communities should assess what resources have already been allocated to 
prevent evictions and homelessness through temporary rental assistance 
and homelessness prevention, particularly to the most vulnerable 
households.
    Treasury, HUD, and USDA stand at the ready to support American 
communities in taking these steps to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and 
maintain economic prosperity.
    For program support, including technical assistance, please visit 
www.hudexchange.info/program-support. For further information on HUD 
resources, tools, and guidance available to respond to the COVID-19 
pandemic, state and local officials are directed to visit https://www.hud.gov/coronavirus. These tools include toolkits for Public 
Housing Authorities and Housing Choice Voucher landlords related to 
housing stability and eviction prevention, as well as similar guidance 
for owners and renters in HUD-assisted multifamily properties. 
Furthermore, tenants can visit consumerfinance.gov/housing for up-to-
date information on rent relief options, protections, and key 
deadlines.

Effective Date

    This Order is effective on August 3, 2021 and will remain in effect 
through October 3, 2021, subject to revision based on the changing 
public health landscape.
    Authority: The authority for this Order is Section 361 of the 
Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 264) and 42 CFR 70.2.

Sherri Berger,
Chief of Staff, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
[FR Doc. 2021-16945 Filed 8-4-21; 2:00 pm]
BILLING CODE 4163-18-P