What happens when the eviction moratorium ends in a month?
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The Joe Biden administration has extended the eviction moratorium one more time. Now, millions of tenants who are unable to pay their rent will be safe from eviction through July, which the administration said will be the last extension.
Though there’s federal COVID funding for rent relief, it isn’t getting to everyone in need.
The one-month extension of the eviction moratorium will give state and local governments more time to distribute $25 billion in federal pandemic rental assistance. Some have been slow to get the money out.
Matt Losak, executive director of the Montgomery County Renters Alliance in Maryland, said they’re afraid of fraud, and “a lot of municipalities are not used to handling crisis operations.”
Losak said 6 million renters nationwide are facing eviction. One of those is Lora, who didn’t want her last name used for fear of losing her job. She applied for rental assistance two months ago. “I’m just honestly very frustrated right now,” she said.
Lora works in a nursing home. She was afraid of getting COVID, so she took a month off from work, unpaid. Now she’s $3,200 behind on her rent and said she’ll be evicted.
“It’s a very dehumanizing process. Who wants an eviction notice slapped on your door for all who live on your floor to see?” she said.
Lora is working and paying rent again. She just needs the federal aid to pay her back rent.
Paula Cino, a vice president with the National Multifamily Housing Council, a trade group for large landlords, said she is seeing more situations similar to Lora’s.
“We’ve seen data that suggests that residents are feeling that they’re in a better place about meeting those rental agreements,” Cino said.
But Cino said a long-term solution is needed. She believes the Section 8 federal housing program should be expanded. Section 8 issues rent vouchers for low-income tenants.
Alicia Mazzara, a senior research analyst at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, said there is not enough help for those who can’t afford housing. Even before the pandemic, there was a long Section 8 waiting list.
“Just 1 in 4 eligible families get rental assistance. And so many more people are in need,” Mazzara said.
The best way to replace the temporary eviction moratorium safety net, she said, is to increase resources for more permanent rental assistance.
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