What Do “Stay-at-Home” Orders Mean for Families in Risky Housing?

Stay-at-home or analogous orders have been issued in several cities and states, and many private firms have advised non-essential staff to work from home to prevent the spread of COVID-19.   Policymakers are still discussing a nationwide stay-at-home mandate. Still, the repercussions of these mandates are already being felt by those forced to remain at home because of them.

Additionally, this epidemic draws attention to the predicament of families in vulnerable living arrangements. When a family or person is homeless, there is no place for them to stay at home, as colleagues at the Urban Institute have pointed out.

The current rental eviction moratorium and mortgage forbearance restrictions will expire, and checks will cease under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act. Families that live in inadequate housing are particularly vulnerable to stay-at-home orders, notwithstanding the general high condition of most American houses.

 

What Exactly is a Stay-at-Home Order??

Stay-at-home orders, which limit the conditions in which individuals can leave their homes, were initially implemented in California and New York, two of the most affected states by the coronavirus pandemic.

All non-essential employees are required to stay at home under a stay-at-home order. People are only allowed to leave their homes to get necessities like food and medicine or go for a single walk in the park.

Businesses can only remain open as long as they are deemed necessary. Customers will no longer be able to dine in at eateries. Since the government has shut down, many duties must be completed from home if at all possible. Hundreds of thousands of Americans have lost their employment.

 

What Is The Purpose of a Stay-at-Home Order?

 

According to Aline Holmes, a clinical associate professor, and director of the Clinical Systems Project at Rutgers University School of Nursing, it’s the goal of a stay-at-home order.

According to Holmes, “If we let everyone go about their business as usual, practically everyone will come into touch with the virus.” As many as 80% of people would become unwell, and 20% hospitalized.

According to Holmes, her home state of New Jersey has 8.9 million people. New Jersey’s healthcare system would be overburdened if 80 percent of the population became ill and 20 percent of those required hospitalization.

It’s possible, according to Holmes, to spread out the number of instances over a longer period and so better manage staffing and resource allocation.

 

Substandard Housing Dangers

The long-term neglect or general degradation of institutional and private property owners contributes to substandard housing.

As of the most recent national census in 2017, about 1.35 million families were living in seriously substandard housing. This covers any home with major issues with heating, plumbing, electrical systems, or basic upkeep, such as no electricity or hot and cold running water.

In addition, another 4.65 million people lived in moderately insufficient apartments or those with difficulties such as incomplete cooking facilities or recurrent toilet breaks. Combined, they make up around 5.2% of all U.S. households, based on the American Housing Survey.

Every neighborhood in the United States is affected by homes in poor physical condition, but particular households are disproportionately affected. More than 9% of all tenants with modest incomes are confined to substandard living conditions.

8.6 percent of American Indian and Alaska Native families and 7.2 percent of African American households are living in substandard housing, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

 

Many Disaster-Damaged Properties Remain Unrepaired

However, there is a specific problem with physical housing that can be solved in most cases. Newly acquired, disaster-damaged properties are supplementing existing poor housing.

Hundreds of thousands of houses have been devastated by multibillion-dollar disasters in the last several years, many of which have yet to be rebuilt or restored.

After Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico in 2017, the Federal Emergency Management Agency reported that 255,633 housing units were destroyed (PDF), yet two years later, 30,000 dwellings remained without roofs.

Ninety-four thousand seven hundred ninety-two homeowners and 38,085 renters in Texas had unmet financial demands following Hurricane Harvey in 2017 (PDF).

More than 18 inches of standing water were in more than 80,000 dwellings alone. For many years afterward, properties that received inadequate help and upkeep remained in decay. Low-income African American and Hispanic households have been most affected by this.

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