Housing rights activist Rob Robinson and Beth Mellen of Legal Aid on the housing crisis in the United States.
“Once the courts open, we will see a race to evict,” says Rob Robinson, a housing rights activist. America’s federal moratorium on evictions ended in August of last year, and with nearly all COVID housing protections gone, the expected wave of evictions will likely worsen the country’s homeless crisis.
Robinson himself was homeless for two years and finally “found his way out”. But he cautions against the narrative that homeless people should be able to “stand up for themselves.”
“I had an infrastructure around me. He knew what it was like to be homeless. Many of the people who were suffering had lived in poverty and struggled all their lives… You can’t just pick yourself up on your own. You need support.
Beth Mellen, director of Legal Aid’s Eviction Defense Project, says preventative solutions, like help from the federal government, can help. “In DC, we have distributed over $400 million in rental assistance to landlords on behalf of renters. And so, it is possible that it has simply slowed down a tsunami that will come gradually.”
On In the front, Marc Lamont Hill talks with Rob Robinson of the Campaign to Restore National Housing Rights and Beth Mellen, director of Legal Aid’s Eviction Defense Project, about the housing crisis facing renters in America’s cities.