When the pandemic hit last year, the federal government stepped in to help, placing a moratorium on evictions. It was an effort to help if someone was behind on their rent, their landlord could not kick them out if their hardship was COVID-19-related. But that’s about to change. However the extra layer of protection is set to expire.
The Biden administration will allow a nationwide ban on evictions to expire Saturday, July 31st, arguing that its hands are tied after the Supreme Court ruled it could only be extended until the end of the month.
In a statement Thursday, the White House said President Joe Biden would have liked to have extended the federal eviction moratorium due to the spread of the delta variant. Biden called on “Congress to extend the eviction moratorium to protect such vulnerable renters and their families without delay.”
According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, by the end of March 2021, 6.4 million American households were behind on their rent. As of July 5, roughly 3.6 million people in the U.S. said they faced eviction in the next two months, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey.
Emergency Rental Funds are available in Phoenix
The City of Phoenix was granted around $50 million for rental assistance has already divvied out more than $20 million. The process of receiving those funds is not easy but experts are still urging those in need to apply with the eviction moratorium set the expire.
Around 2,000 applications are still pending for Phoenix’s emergency rental assistance program. The average pay per household is $7,500. The funds are needed now more than ever with the eviction moratorium set to expire. Experts are calling this situation a housing crisis in the Valley.
“I think the next couple of months are going to be really difficult for many Arizonans and really crucial from an assistance perspective,” said Cynthia Zwick, the executive director of Wildfire, an organization that focuses on Arizona’s poverty. They’ve partnered up with Phoenix to distribute rental assistance.
So far, officials said, they’ve dispersed nearly 50% of the 50 million they received to nearly 3,000 households. Zwick admits some were concerned with funding but she’s happy with the progress made. “And I can tell you that our partners, the City of Phoenix as hard as they can to spend as much as they can as fast as possible,” said Zwick. But right now, thousands are waiting for the help with applications still pending. Zwick wouldn’t call it a backlog but said it simply takes time to process all the needed paperwork from tenants and landlords. “It’s document heavy, its eligibility heavy and the time frame for those documents takes a while,” said Zwick.
Still, officials are encouraging residents to apply for assistance with evictions approaching and rent prices rising. For more information, click here.
There are additional resources to help people with rental assistance or find a new place to live.