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Unprecedented wave of evictions coming due to Wuhan panic

The beatings will continue until morale improves: Based on court filings, authorities in Oklahoma expect an unprecedented number of rental evictions in the coming months due to the government-imposed business shut downs and resulting unemployment.

Attorneys and academics told The Oklahoman a moratorium on eviction hearings, once ended, will be followed by a wave of evictions creating a homeless population not seen since the Great Depression.

…The state’s unemployment rate hit record levels within weeks of the outbreak, with first-time claims on unemployment insurance up by nearly 800%. Nearly 100,000 Oklahomans, more than the entire population of Edmond, filed initial claims in the past two weeks. “I don’t see how these people are going to be able to pay their bills,” [said Richard Klinge, director of the Pro Bono Eviction Assistance Program at Oklahoma City University]. “It’s a tsunami coming on the horizon as people can’t pay their rent.”

A national survey by Eviction Lab at Princeton University ranked Tulsa and Oklahoma City as cities with the 11th and 20th highest eviction rates based on 2016 data. The Pro Bono Eviction Assistance Program under Klinge has helped 650 families — more than 1,300 men, women and children — facing eviction and other landlord issues since the organization was started in 2018. That is only a fraction of total evictions the state could see this year alone.

“Before COVID-19 struck, based on filings to date in Oklahoma County, 14,000 cases would be set for Oklahoma County in 2020,” Klinge said. “That means more than 30,000 men, women and children will be facing eviction from their homes.

I remain amazed how little interest there is in the overall economic disaster that is going to bankrupt thousands of businesses and push millions out of their homes. In the end, this collapse of the economic is going to hurt (and kill) far more people that anything so far suggested possible by the Wuhan virus.

Instead, our state-run press, hawking propaganda for the government and its employees, seems only interested in reporting the possibility that government agencies might have to shrink and cut pay.

Genesis cover

On Christmas Eve 1968 three Americans became the first humans to visit another world. What they did to celebrate was unexpected and profound, and will be remembered throughout all human history. Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8, Robert Zimmerman's classic history of humanity's first journey to another world, tells that story, and it is now available as both an ebook and an audiobook, both with a foreword by Valerie Anders and a new introduction by Robert Zimmerman.

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"Not simply about one mission, [Genesis] is also the history of America's quest for the moon... Zimmerman has done a masterful job of tying disparate events together into a solid account of one of America's greatest human triumphs."--San Antonio Express-News


  • Shaun

    Did you mean “going to bankrupt thousands of businesses and push millions out of their homes”? I think that’s what you meant. At any rate, I completely agree that this is one of the most blatantly disgusting over reactions in modern times. I can’t, as much as I’ve tried, understand the lack of independent thinking that individuals in the US have presented. The data is readily accessible to any one with an internet connection. Comments that I made in the past were based on the data of the time. Things change as the sample size grows. That being said, I continue to be blown away by the completely irrational response to COVID-19. Thanks Bob for adding some common sense in a time where it seems to be scarce.

  • Shaun

    As an aside: I attempted to go to three different major hardware stores yesterday to pick up some new router bits. All three parking lots were absolutely filled up. The lines of shoppers waiting to enter the stores were probably 30 to 40 minutes long (considering social distancing). Just couldn’t find it in myself to stand on a marked “6ft” position and proceed through the line like a piece of cattle. Turned around and left. Can’t believe this is what America has come to look like…

  • Shaun: Thank you for the copy editing. Post is corrected.

  • Robin Fox

    Don’t feel so bad, at least you can order those router bits on line and (maybe) pay a small premium for postage. I shop for groceries for my family. Now I have to go to 5 supermarkets instead of the usual 2 in order to get what I need. Whatever is out of stock in one store might be present in another. I get up very early to shop in order to avoid lines. I REFUSE to stand in line at 5 supermarkets just to find out that what I am looking for is out of stock. Shopping for groceries on line is no better; it is certainly tremendously more expensive if using the services of more than one site and there is still no guarantee of product. Every day it seems we are closer to being Russia.

  • Ian C.

    Robin Fox,

    Every day it seems we are closer to being Russia.

    Reminds of a Soviet joke. Hope it translates well.

    “Did you hear? Yesterday they opened the COSMOS mall. Every reach goes into the void.”

  • Dave

    “Under current orders, the courts could start hearing eviction filings as early as May 6. Regardless of when the courts pick the cases back up, it will create a logistical challenge.”

    If the Wu-flu is still a big deal on May 6, the no-eviction order will be extended, and if not, the courts will be in no great hurry to clear this backlog, giving tenants time to secure alternative housing arrangements. And many filings will be withdrawn when tenants return to work and are able to pay rent again.

  • Grim Leaper

    It is to be hoped your optimism is justified, Dave. One still does wonder about the ripple effects from so many borderline residential renters having fallen severely behind on their rent. They’ll have no margin for covering unexpected expenses. Homelessness for many may only be delayed. Will we see a widespread relaxation of smug, costly regulations specifying that only so many people can reside in a one-bedroom apartment and that apartments be no smaller than this or that many square feet? Dense, multi-family living arrangements may become far more common than today in the United States, which would historically represent a return to the earlier years of the Republic.

    Needless to say, landlords in general likely will suffer greatly from having a glut of unaffordable business and residential rental properties on their hands, depending on the local market. What of property taxes when far fewer people can buy homes and rent normally and run their small businesses in offices and warehouses and factories? Will localities reduce property taxes to avoid a wave of landlord bankruptcies that will result in further drops in tax revenues? Seems unlikely, doesn’t it? They’ll raise them instead with the inevitable dire side effects, and then what? Will we see a dark place indeed?

  • Grim Leaper

    Shaun, I don’t believe the response to COVID-19 has been so much irrational as short-sighted and heavily tinged with unjustified hysteria among the chattering classes. No one other than a few Chinese medical experts and Communist Party officials knew anything earlier about what was really happening in Red China with Winnie the Flu. It’ll be very interesting to see what happens if recent reports of widespread asymptomatic infections bear out into a revised, much smaller death toll per capita. Everyone will stop Kung-Flu fighting to refocus on starting their lives back the hell up and to blazes with the tinpot tyrants in state and local governments.

    By the by, I, too, find that any kind of traffic guidance in retail stores or other venues arouses in me the strong urge to moo indignantly. -_-

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