The federal eviction moratorium, which put a halt to residential evictions to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, ended over the weekend, leaving millions of Americans in the lurch and facing homelessness over past-due rent — despite the Delta variant surge. One of those impacted by the lifting of protections is Stacy Layne Matthews, star and fan favorite of season three of RuPaul’s Drag Race, who opened up about her issue in a recent Instagram post.
“I haven’t said much about my situation but here it goes,” she wrote. “I know everyone is struggling. Trust me I have helped many people get through tough times... I thought I had done enough to stay where I am currently living. By myself in a 1 bedroom apartment..... but obviously I haven't. I been given a week to figure it out or go to court and explain why I'm behind. I've never been evicted. It's a scary situation.”
While Matthews's stint on Drag Race makes her a recognizable face of the housing crisis currently facing the nation, she’s far from alone. A nationwide wave — or as some have described it, a tsunami — of evictions threatens an estimated 11.4 million adult renters who have fallen behind on rent due to job loss and various other financial stressors caused by the pandemic. Despite the new surge in cases in all 50 states, a ruling from the Supreme Court in late June stated that the moratorium must expire by the end of July. According to officials at the White House, this ruling has left President Biden’s hands tied, and the Democrats in Congress divided. Some progressive Democrats, including Rep. Cori Bush of Missouri’s first congressional district, spent the weekend camped out on the Capitol steps in protest of the expiring moratorium. "We spent a lot of time looking at it. The Supreme Court ruling is very clear," one official told CNN. Still, President Biden is seeking to exhaust all options. "I don't think this means this president is going to give up," Gene Sperling, the White House official responsible for managing coronavirus relief efforts, said. "I think he's going to keep looking, keep pushing."
Adding to the issue is the fact that state and local governments have been slow to disperse $45 billion in relief funds allocated by Congress to assist those behind on rent and mortgage payments. "If some states and localities can get this out efficiently and effectively, there's no reason every state and locality can't," Sperling said. "There's simply no excuse, no place to hide for any state or locality that is failing to accelerate the emergency rental assistance fund."
In the meantime, courts across the nation are filling with tenants and landlords, while others, like Matthews, are turning to the public for help in this time of unprecedented need. “I know many may judge me for this post and that's ok. Everyone is allowed to feel however they want. Just know if I didn't need help I surely wouldn't ask.... especially from people I didn't know. With that being said.... if you wanna donate.... that would be greatly appreciated. I'm doing everything I can to get back to where I was,” she wrote. “Thank you to those who believe in me enough to get back to where I was. I haven't smiled in such a long time. Much love. Miss Henny!”