But the rent is still due. For people who relied on these protections, this month may mark the beginning of new challenges.
“Assistance in emergency renting should be a priority,” said Priscilla Almodovar, CEO of Enterprise Community Partners, a non-profit organization that develops affordable housing. “It’s a key factor in avoiding evictions that mean homeless.”
“I hope we’re going to see a lot of families pushed toward homelessness as we begin the school year, which is already full of complications,” said Erin O. Planalp, an Iowa Legal Aid lawyer. “But I hope we can take advantage of our connections to the community and collaborate with the owners to try to give people a little more time.”;
For people who can’t afford rent this month, the good news is that there may be more relief resources for rent than when the pandemic began.
You know what protections you have
If you can’t pay your rent, talk to the landlord. Many will agree to make partial payments or establish a payment plan. But if you still can’t make a rental, you need to know what protections to avoid evicting.
Eviction moratoriums were put in place, which are stopped on landlords who file or carry out the removal of a tenant to protect tenants of their home during the health crisis. But they have been clueless and confused. There were moratoriums at the federal or local level, for different types of housing and for different times.
At this point, tenants are more likely to be protected by a local moratorium, which may have been extended or stayed in place.
But regardless of the moratorium protection on evictions, rent is not forgiven. An unpaid rent is still due and will still have to be paid eventually to avoid eviction.
Get to seek relief funds
The CARES Act allocated money to states and communities to use as aid. But they connect tenants who need the money with the money, legal aid workers say.
For those who have not gone through a rent, it is difficult to understand how difficult it is to live in a state of constant emergency, Planalp said. “There’s this fight or flight response. It’s so hard to take action to figure it out for you and your family.”
“There’s a lot of funding out there,” Planalp said. “But there are several programs and each program has its own criteria.”
Still, much of that relief funding leaves people out, he said. Tenants who are not documented or who have legal status are not eligible for the CARES Act relief.
“Assistance is there,” Planalp said. “We need to connect people with the right program and give them enough time to apply for them so they can get the relief they need before they lose their home.”