By: Shonda Austin
Black women all over the United States are facing multiple economic injustices. Chief among them is housing.
During this pandemic I’ve loss almost all of my support and resources. Even though the CDC and Governor Steve Sisolak have extended the eviction moratorium, my family and I are currently still at risk of being homeless once again as the pandemic winds down and the eviction moratoriums will no longer be extended. Extending the moratorium and cancelling rent in order to help my family and many other families who are at risk of being placed on the streets, in the way of harm, is the only way to bring relief to our communities. An eviction would only be exposing me and my children to potential violence placed on homeless individuals, COVID, 1st hand poverty, depression, and a lack of humanity, and more importantly a direct attack on our rights to reproductive justice.
I’ve lived in my home for a year and a half. Before this, I lived in a one bedroom weekly with eight people for eight months. Before that, I lived in my car for four months. I’ve maintained consistent employment for the past two years but because of my past rental history, almost 15 years ago, I still can’t find stable, quality and affordable housing on my own. My kids and I are currently living in a home rented for us by a family member as a result of my housing history. Once the eviction moratorium is no longer extended or if no rent cancellation is pushed forward, and my family and I are evicted, this would only repeat a cycle of trauma, ultimately placing not only our home in jeopardy, but the well being and quality of life of my children and I.
Folks of color have a 37 to 47 percent chance of being evicted from their homes. People of color are always disproportionately impacted by the constant inequities that our country continues to uphold. Families shouldn’t have to decide whether or not to pay rent or to keep the lights on to stay warm and fed during these uncertain times of a pandemic. With the alarming number of families facing eviction there will be a vast increase in the number of COVID cases popping up all around the country, putting myself, my children and many other children at risk as we are thrown out into the streets and into overcrowded shelters.
As the country opens back up and the moratorium is no longer extended, our families in Nevada and across the country need our elected officials to hear from our communities and cancel rent. We can only kick the can down the road for so long, we need to get real relief to tenants before we are faced with a worse housing crisis and a massive wave of evictions and homelessness.
Shonda Austin, 39, a Black woman, mother of three, Community Organizer, and a Make It Work Nevada Ambassador.