New Brunswick must keep moratorium on evictions in place
May 30, 2020
While the pandemic continues, NB Premier Blaine Higgs has decided that as of June 1 2020, tenants no longer need protection from eviction. This is not acceptable. According to the plans for gradual opening, zone 5 businesses cannot open, and other northern zones are preparing to close again. We still have a lot of uncertainties. The people who are currently protected from eviction will still require protection. Public health experts caution that a second wave of coronavirus is imminent. Those who are struggling financially amidst the turmoil of the last several months should not have to fear homelessness in addition to income, food, and health insecurities. There is no guarantee that everyone in need will be able to access federal emergency income support programs, or that such benefits fully cover all basic living expenses.
Tenants forced to leave their homes, because of a crisis that is beyond their control, find themselves in a highly precarious situation. Access to shelter is a basic human right, and housing must be accessible, especially in times of a public health emergency. No One Is Illegal- Fredericton and other citizens’ groups are calling for dignity and freedom from exploitation for all, regardless of status.
The COVID-19 pandemic has clearly demonstrated that essential workers are among the most economically vulnerable. Our collective well-being depends on their work, as they risk their own lives. These workers provide our food, clean our communities, and care for our loved ones. But while they provide the most essential care, they are the very people who are most vulnerable to poverty, illness, discrimination, and abuse. These essential workers often work for low wages, without job security, benefits, or protections – sometimes even without basic citizenship. We have sought to thank and applaud them at times when we’ve felt helpless at home. Now we must support them, and ensure they have roofs over their heads.
As we prepare for what fall and winter may bring, which will likely involve a second and potentially worse pandemic, it is crucial that we seek to protect those who are essential to our survival. If we do not protect everyone, we cannot protect anyone.
Those who need protection from eviction are economically the most vulnerable. They include many of the essential workers who care for our communities. We call upon our government and Premier Higgs to extend eviction protection indefinitely, in this time of continuing uncertainty.
No One Is Illegal-Fredericton