Chris Arnold

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

It used to be people complained about housing being too expensive in New York, San Francisco, or Washington, D.C. The problem is now way bigger than that.

"Unless you're making a lot of money right now you can't afford a house in this country," Senator Jon Tester said at a recent hearing. He represents the state of Montana where now home prices and rents have been rising dramatically too.

"We've got businesses that can't expand because there's no workforce housing," Tester continued. "There's no housing for people who make regular wages ok?"

The real estate company Zillow announced it's throwing in the towel on a program in which it bought, renovated and resold homes itself.

The iBuying, or instant buying, service called Zillow Offers had recently been bogged down by a backlog of renovations and closings caused by labor and supply shortages in the U.S. housing market.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

NOEL KING, HOST:

Just before the pandemic, Nitin Bajaj and his wife, Nimisha Lotia, rented an apartment they own in Los Angeles to two young women.

"They were really nice to talk to," Lotia says.

But as soon as the pandemic hit, the new renters, both in their late 20s, stopped paying the rent. Lotia says the young women sent them an email saying that COVID-19 had created a financial hardship and that the city had just imposed an eviction ban — so the renters couldn't be evicted.

Akira Johnson lives in Columbia, S.C., with her three kids. She tries to make the place joyful for them with flowers and pillows that say things like "happy" and "sunshine."

She has decorated one wall with the logo of her small business: an eye with amazing eyelashes.

"I'm a licensed cosmetologist," Johnson says. "I specialize in eyelash extensions. It takes about two hours."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

LEILA FADEL, HOST:

Landlords across much of the country can now evict tenants who have fallen behind on their rent. That's because a federal ban on evictions expired over the weekend.

"It's devastating," said Safiya Kitwana, a single mom with two teenagers living in DeKalb County, Ga., who lost her job during the pandemic. Like 7 million other Americans, Kitwana has fallen behind on rent.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Back around the start of the year, Michael Thurmond had a problem. He's the top elected official in DeKalb County, Ga. Congress had approved about $50 billion to help people catch up and pay rent to avoid eviction.

But Thurmond worried that his county wouldn't get enough money to help everybody.

"What do I say to the family who is the first in line after all the money has run out?" he asks.

Updated June 29, 2021 at 7:53 PM ET

The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to lift a ban on evictions for tenants who have failed to pay all or some rent during the coronavirus pandemic.

By a 5-4 vote, the court left in place the nationwide moratorium on evictions issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Alabama Association of Realtors had challenged the moratorium.

Mehran Mossaddad has spent much of the pandemic scared and lying awake at night. He's a single dad with an 10-year-old daughter living outside Atlanta.

"I get panic attacks not knowing what's in store for us," he says. "I have to take care of her."

Mossaddad drives Uber for a living, but when the pandemic hit, he stopped because he couldn't leave his daughter home alone. As a result, he has fallen more than $15,000 behind on his rent, and his landlord has filed an eviction case against him.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

A pioneering investor who ran Yale University's endowment, David Swensen, died this week at the age of 67 after a years-long battle with cancer. Swensen revolutionized the way many colleges invest, infusing some schools and nonprofits with vastly more resources to pay for things like financial aid for students and research.

Swensen was widely regarded by other investors as one of the greatest in the world. Case in point: He grew Yale's endowment from $1 billion in 1985 to $31 billion last year.

The Texas state court system is signaling that it will no longer enforce a federal order aimed at stopping evictions during the coronavirus pandemic. That could clear the way for landlords to push ahead with tens of thousands of eviction cases that have been on hold.

The timing could be particularly painful for many families, coming after Congress has approved billions of dollars to help people pay the rent they owe to avoid eviction but before the vast majority of renters have been able to receive any of that money.

Pages