The federal eviction moratorium is set to expire at the end of the month, increasing concerns around the fate of the 7 million tenants who are still behind on their rent, according to a recent US Census report.

The eviction ban was issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to protect the many tenants who were unable to make rental payments. The moratorium expiration date, which has been extended several times, has now been set for July 31 with the intention of it being “the final extension of the moratorium.”

Danien Johnson, who directs the Alexandria Eviction Prevention Partnership in Northern Virginia and also works as a social service provider with ALIVE!, told NPR that some tenants are so worried about getting evicted they will not even open the mail.

“We get a lot of people that just can’t do anything,” she said. “They don’t want to answer the phone. The landlord may even be calling them to try to help them.”

The government is under growing pressure to increase emergency rental relief to tenants and landlords. Efforts have been stepped up to distribute some $46 billion in emergency rental assistance as well as head off eviction cases before they go to court. However, partnership between tenants, landlords and agents is not always strong. 

The Treasury Department reported last week that only $1.5 billion of an initial $25 billion in emergency aid had been spent by the end of May. More money has started to flow since, but state and local governments have taken months to get their programs up and running

According to Urban Institute’s recent survey, more than half of tenants and 40 percent of small landlords do not even know about the emergency rental assistance program that is available through next September.

Biden senior advisor Gene Sperling told NPR that the country is in a race with time, with emergency rental aid only trickling out.

"We are asking our states and local governments to do everything they can to fill that void in a hurry," he said. "Some are ramping up admirably. Some are lagging. But we all have to do better."

EvictionSisters-C-LCO-1-scaled The federal eviction moratorium is set to expire at the end of the month but that may not be enough time for the millions of Americans who are still behind on rent. Photo: Creative