A viral joke about paying rent racked up more than 1 million likes on Twitter in a matter of days as the U.S. coronavirus pandemic shows no signs of abating and more crises threaten to pile on the shoulders of beleaguered Americans.
Activists helped this California woman break into her home of 21 years after her landlord locked her … [+]
Photo by David McNew/Getty Images
Twitter user Colby Thomas Jr. wrote on Monday:
Since then, the tweet has racked up over 1 million likes and has been retweeted over 100,000 times, according to data from social media tracking firm NewsWhip, making it the platform’s most-liked tweet this week.
Renters are facing an oncoming crisis due to the pandemic, with at least 20 million Americans unemployed and enhanced unemployment benefits, which granted up to $600 per worker per week in additional funds, set to run out July 31 if Congress doesn’t act.
As more Americans lost their income and therefore their ability to pay rent, what’s likely the largest rent strike in U.S. history has begun, with over 200,000 tenants nationwide refusing to pay rent while lobbying their landlords, politicians and the press for rent forgiveness.
Evictions, however, are starting back up again as courts reopen and as federal and state moratoriums expire, with advocates warning that millions of Americans could lose their housing.
“Most people were responding because they found it funny but at the same time, they most likely relate to the tweet,” Thomas, who lives in Beaumont, Texas, told Forbes, adding, “I wasn’t expecting it to blow up the way it did.”
28 million. That’s how many Americans could become homeless due to evictions caused by the pandemic, according to a Friday CNBC report.
What to watch for
Whether a second stimulus check gets approved by Congress. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said July 6 that another check “may well” be included in the next round of legislation. President Trump has also shown support for a second batch of checks.
The coronavirus pandemic shattered unemployment records and cratered the economy as millions of workers followed stay-at-home orders to slow the transmission of the virus. In March, Congress passed the largest economic stimulus package in American history at over $2 trillion to cushion the blow taken by workers and businesses. A second package has since been passed by the House and stalled in the Senate. Although the federal eviction moratorium was extended through the end of August, the Washington Post reports that most renters aren’t covered by it, and instead are relying on state and local governments to extend their own moratoriums.
The American Bar Association’s Task Force Committee on Eviction has a public database of how each U.S. state, territory and commonwealth are handling evictions.
Cancel Rent (The Atlantic)