Adam Skolnik of the Maryland Multi-Housing Association accuses so-called “tenant lobbyists” of using inaccurate information to “scare the public” about evictions (”Stop scaring the public about evictions,” Jan. 20). I’m not a lobbyist, but a primary care doctor. My patients are scared because landlords want to kick them out.
A patient of mine (whose details I’ve changed) had been looking for work for six months. His car was repossessed, and he was briefly homeless. Finally, he found work, scraped together enough for an apartment with friends’ help, and was ready to start. Then he began having shortness of breath and cough. He couldn’t show up for the new job. On Christmas, he was diagnosed with COVID.
He wrote me: “Doc, how long do I isolate?” “Why?” I asked. “They want to evict me on Dec. 31st.”
This is a common story. In 2020, there was a brief window when we were supporting people with COVID, recognizing an opportunity to demonstrate common humanity. In 2021, that window slammed shut. Here in a new year, we can open it again. Epidemiologists and public health experts agree: Homelessness in a pandemic is deadly. Please help my patients, and all of us, by using government as an instrument to help, not a cudgel to beat with. Suspend evictions.
Zackary Berger, Baltimore
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