White House calls for 'urgent' action to prevent evictions after Supreme Court decision

WASHINGTON, Aug 26 (Reuters) - The White House said it regretted the Supreme Court's decision on Thursday to end the Biden administration's pandemic-related federal moratorium on evictions, and urged states, cities, landlords and others to do what they could to help.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the eviction moratoriums issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had saved lives by preventing the spread of the COVID-19 virus throughout the pandemic.

The court, which has a 6-3 conservative majority, granted a request by the challengers to lift the CDC moratorium that was to have run until Oct. 3. read more

"The Biden Administration is disappointed that the Supreme Court has blocked the most recent CDC eviction moratorium while confirmed cases of the Delta variant are significant across the country," she said, warning the decision would harm families and put communities at greater risk of exposure to COVID-19.

The exterior of the White House is seen from the North Lawn in Washington, U.S., August 19, 2021. REUTERS/Cheriss May

Given the ruling, President Joe Biden was "once again calling on all entities that can prevent evictions - from cities and states to local courts, landlords, Cabinet agencies - to urgently act to prevent evictions," Psaki said.

The White House on Wednesday announced new steps to help renters and landlords hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, including moves by the Treasury Department to reduce documentation requirements to get emergency rental assistance flowing to hundreds of thousands of applicants stuck in administrative processing bottlenecks.

Treasury also warned state and local governments that have failed to provide relief payments to at-risk renters and landlords that they could lose funding to jurisdictions that were doing better a better job disbursing those funds.

The White House said the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Veterans Affairs would also increase support for at-risk tenant and landlords to stave off evictions.

Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Jacqueline Wong and Michael Perry

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.