Utah tenant, diagnosed with cancer, evicted from home despite ability to pay rent

In late November, Nic McCormack was evicted from Pleasant Springs Apartment Homes in Pleasant Grove, Utah. McCormack was still able to pay rent, but this was not enough — Pleasant Springs requires that tenants have an income of at least three times their rent. McCormack was forced to stop working because of a sudden colon cancer diagnosis, drastically reducing his income. 

Members of the Party for Socialism and Liberation and Utah Valley Mutual Aid gathered on the sidewalk outside of Pleasant Springs on Dec. 12 to protest Nic McCormack’s inhumane eviction and evictions in general. Some Pleasant Springs residents came to share their support. One held a sign and stated that Pleasant Springs had been “evicting people left and right.” Like all renters, these residents have the threat of eviction held over them. At the end of the demonstration, protesters taped signs on the Pleasant Springs leasing office with demands for pandemic relief and the words “not one more eviction.”

McCormack worked as an electrician. As such, he provided a vital service within housing. In a recent interview, McCormack stated, “I’ve asked them to just be decent human beings and have a little sympathy, you know? And they just say, ‘Sorry for your situation. Have a nice day.’” (KSITV)

Symptom of a larger problem 

The CDC moratorium on evictions was scheduled to be lifted Dec. 31, 2020, but was extended to the end of January. Even with the moratorium, thousands like Nic McCormack have been been forced to leave their homes. Because McCormack could no longer work, his income declined. When it was time to renew his contract with Pleasant Springs, the company refused to renew because he no longer met the income guidelines, although he was able, in fact, to pay. With the moratorium’s end, millions more are facing eviction. COVID-19 is continuing to spread at an alarming rate and these evictions will only worsen the spread.

The eviction crisis will inevitably drag even more people into poverty. With evictions remaining on the records of renters, those who are evicted will find it more difficult to find new housing. 

No ‘real’ crisis, just an evil, unjust system

In the United States, there is an excess of housing. Yet, because capitalism distributes this human need based on who can pay, rather than the fact that everyone needs a home, people across the nation are displaced from the homes they live in.

PSL member Jacob Sparks stated at the Dec. 12 protest: “What we need to prevent this kind of violence is a socialist society, a society that puts the needs of people over profits, a society that is shaped and controlled by the working class.”

The government has failed to protect the right of housing for all people. Now is the time to come together to demand the cancellation of rents and mortgages for the duration of the pandemic. We must fight to stop the evictions!

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