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According to CityLab, many municipalities are fighting the possibility of more homelessness due to COVID-19 by temporarily stopping evictions, foreclosures, and utility cut-offs. California and New York, along with Los Angeles, Miami, Orlando, Seattle, and Philadelphia, have taken up a range of housing security strategies. Singapore and Italy pioneered the efforts. The Guardian reports that almost 90 cities and states have stopped shutting off water and Detroit has turned the water back on for people who were cut off.

The U.S. has not passed a blanket national moratorium (although the federal government has taken steps to suspend some government-backed evictions and foreclosures). But Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has called for federal lawmakers to prevent all evictions, foreclosures, and utility bill collections.

Because each jurisdiction handles housing policy differently, officials are pulling different levers to protect renters and homeowners alike: Penalizing landlords for kicking tenants out, telling their police and sheriff’s departments to stop enforcing pending or new eviction notices, and urging banks and utility companies to temporarily forgive non-payments.

Several of the proposals recognize the financial burden of mass social isolation and business closures by tying the housing reprieves to documented coronavirus-related losses. Others take a blanket approach to protecting people from housing insecurity during a global pandemic.

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