Housing advocates on Monday expressed concern that the expiring eviction moratorium which ended Saturday will cause millions of tenants to become homeless.

The expiring eviction moratorium comes as more than 15 million Americans in 6.5 million households are behind on rental payments, according to a recent study by the Aspen Institute and the COVID-19 Eviction Defense Project.

The eviction ban was imposed in September by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as a safety measure amid a growing number of COVID-19 cases. The Supreme Court on June 29 decided that it would maintain the ban in place until July 31 but made clear that it believed the CDC exceeded its legal authority.

Politico noted that "in six states and 31 cities tracked by Princeton University's Eviction Lab, landlords have filed for more than 451,000 evictions since March 15, 2020. Landlords typically file about 3.7 million eviction cases per year, and so filings are expected to swell in August."

Ted Phillips, a lawyer who leads the United Community Housing Coalition in Detroit, told the Associated Press that it is "very scary" that the eviction moratorium is ending.

“We are on the brink of a catastrophic level of housing displacement across the country that will only increase the immediate threat to public health,” said Emily Benfer, professor of law at Wake Forest University. 

The White House issued a statement Monday about the moratorium’s end and urged Congress to extend it. The statement said that the Biden administration "remains deeply committed to doing everything in its power to keep people safely and securely housed."

"President Biden is taking further action to prevent Americans from experiencing the heartbreak of eviction. Thanks to State eviction moratoria, almost 33% of the country will be spared evictions for the rest of this month. But in the remaining States, action is needed," the statement read.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Congress has a “moral imperative” to act in order to prevent the looming crisis. 

“Without the CDC’s moratorium, millions of people are at risk of being evicted or becoming homeless, increasing their exposure to COVID just as cases are rising across the country. The effect will fall heavily on people of color, particularly Black and Latino communities, who face a greater risk of eviction and more barriers to vaccination,” Alicia Mazzara, a senior research analyst with the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, told reporters in June.

“August is going to be a rough month because a lot of people will be displaced from their homes,” said Jeffery Hearne, director of litigation for Legal Services of Greater Miami.

“It will be numbers we haven’t seen before. There are a lot of people who are protected by the moratorium,” he said. 

The moratorium reportedly helped prevent 2 million tenants from becoming homeless. The potential crisis may get worse in September as foreclosure proceedings will begin as 1.75 million homeowners are in some sort of forbearance plan, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.