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Housing and Homelessness

Eviction Moratoriums Improve Mental Health And Increase Access To Food, A UCLA Study Finds

A protestor in clear framed glasses and white bring hat also wears a "Cancel Rent" face mask.
Protesters in L.A. last August called for rent and evictions to be canceled during the pandemic. A news study found side benefits to eviction moratoriums.
AFP via Getty Images)
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Improved mental health, more access to food — these are just a couple of the side benefits UCLA researchers found when they studied the impact of the eviction moratoriums that went into place during the pandemic.

With those protections, the study found people were able to spend more on groceries, and fewer people reported they didn't have reliable access to food.

Stuart Gabriel is a UCLA finance professor and an author of the study. He says eviction moratoriums do more than keep people in their homes.

"They were also critical — as we hypothesized — to redirection of scarce household resources to such basic necessities as food," said Gabriel.

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Researchers used a number of data sources for the analysis, including a census survey that found that an additional week of state eviction protections resulted in a 2% reduction in food insecurity for Black families.

People also reported better mental health without the stress of being evicted.

On Tuesday, the Biden administration issued a new more limited eviction moratorium. That came after a previous federal order expired.

As for rent relief, federal and state governments haven't handed out most of the rent relief they promised. Gabriel says that's putting people at risk.

"It's a timing issue of maybe one or two months as we get to more effective means of disbursing those funds."

He's concerned that many renters could be evicted while they wait for relief.

Another recently released UCLA study on eviction moratoriums found that states that had them in place early in the pandemic and then lifted them last summer saw a higher rate of COVID cases and deaths than states that kept them in place, like California.

UCLA has an animated map that let's you see which states and counties had rules in place and when.

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