Despite eviction moratorium extension, some in Triangle still in danger of losing their homes

Local News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Thousands of North Carolinians who were on the verge of eviction for failure to pay rent can breathe a short sigh of relief.

The national eviction moratorium is extended until Jan. 31, 2021, through a COVID-19 relief bill passed by Congress.

But then what? It’s a question Jesse McCoy, supervising attorney At Duke Civil Justice Clinic, has been trying to answer for clients.

“I deal with folks where Covid has ruined their lives,” said McCoy.

He says some are starting to climb out the hole, only to be met with another challenge.

“The concern is, well I can pay forward. I can’t cover the deficit that’s hanging over my head. Largely, these were folks who were out of work from March until July,” said McCoy.

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For those who can start making payments he suggests working with your landlord now to make arrangements, but for people who are not working right now he suggests contacting 211 for local emergency rental resources.

“In Durham County there’s an eviction diversion program. The agency to hold that money is the department of social services and one of their pots has various eligibility criteria. There are also some pots [that] are Covid specific,” McCoy explained.

In Wake County, there’s the “House Wake! COVID-19 Eviction Program.”

The program pays 100 percent of up to six months for any unpaid back rent owed for March through December of this year.

“One of the advantages of the program that we have is that January, February, March we’re asking landlords to discount the rent by 25 percent. So, also this is the means of helping tenants get back on their feet and stabilize their housing,” explained Suzanne Orozco, who is the executive director of Telamon Corporation.

The Wake County Department of Housing Affordability & Community Revitalization tapped Telamon Corporation to be the program administrator for the House Wake! program, which launched earlier this fall.

Orozco said not all landlords are on board with the program, though.

“We have some properties that have declined to participate and it’s heartbreaking. We’ve had some property managers say no we will not participate and I had to have staff send out a denial for 22 residents for that complex,” said Orozco.

So far there’s been 1,571 applications and Orozco said the program is accepting applications through the end of December.

“People have used all of their savings, everything they have. Now they are at their wits end on how to do that,” she said.

On average they’re receiving applications for people who are three to four months behind.

You can start the application process for the House Wake! COVID-19 Eviction Program by clicking here.

The National Eviction Moratorium only prevents evictions for renters who have failed to pay rent. Renters should also submit a signed declaration form to their landlord stating they’ve lost income due to the COVID-19 pandemic. You can find that form by clicking here.

Even when the moratorium expires it doesn’t mean renters will be on the streets that same day, but landlords could start their eviction process soon after.

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