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Eviction moratorium set to expire on Saturday, meaning thousands could be evicted

Posted at 9:56 AM, Jul 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-30 09:56:52-04

(WSYM) — President Joe Biden is calling on Congress to take action in the final hours to once again extend the eviction moratorium.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic started and the eviction moratorium was put in place to help those facing job loss and illness, there have been a little over 7,000 evictions in Michigan. That's a fraction of the 40,000 evictions from the year prior to the pandemic.

Without action, the 15-month moratorium is scheduled to end on Saturday and many organizations are preparing to receive a year's worth of cases all at once.

The moratorium aims to keep people in their homes and out of crowded settings like homeless shelters as a way to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

Whether or not the moratorium is extended, there is financial help available to catch up on past-due rent that people can apply for right now.

"We are looking to streamline the application process to four programs that will help with evictions," David Bowser, the deputy director of the Detroit Community Health Corporation, said.

The corporation is helping residents with core issues that impact well-being, like having a place to live.

"Really, the City of Detroit and the mayor's office are leading a charge to prepare for an influx being that the number is so high of people worried about eviction," he said.

In the latest U.S. Census survey, more than 120,000 Michiganders responded. Of those, more than 80,000 say they are likely to be evicted in two months.

Of 96,000 parents surveyed, 60% said they are likely to be evicted, about half in metro Detroit.

Bowser hopes to keep those families out of court.

The eviction moratorium order issued by the CDC has been extended multiple times, most recently in June with the final extension set to expire July 31.

Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that congressional action would be needed to extend it past that date.

Late Thursday, Biden called on Congress to do just that - in light of the rising COVID-19 case numbers fueled by the Delta variant.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will bring it before the House on Friday to decide whether to extend the moratorium prohibiting landlords from evicting tenants who fail to pay rent due to financial hardship caused by the pandemic.

A number of states put their own eviction moratorium in place through the end of summer or the end of the year, including New Jersey New York and Illinois

Michigan did not, but the state allocated hundreds of millions in federal dollars for rent and utility payment assistance to those who can demonstrate hardship as a result of the pandemic.

"They have to be behind in rent or utilities in order to receive assistance. So it's not for people who are current on their rent and current on their utilities, this money, and that's funding that's for people who are currently behind," Karen Bertram from the Community Housing Network said.

Renters are expected to pay what they can and they are expected to apply for rental assistance to make up for the rest.