‘This is truly it’: Moratorium on evictions ends, but rental assistance continues

Published: Aug. 2, 2021 at 5:24 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Time could be up for many people who have been avoiding eviction or foreclosure due to the moratorium set by the federal government.

That moratorium came to an end over the weekend.

In order to qualify for the moratorium, you had to apply for assistance.

According to the state of North Carolina, the HOPE Program has awarded more than $317 million in rent and utility assistance to help more than 81,000 North Carolina families. Of that amount, $227.2 million has already been paid to landlords and utility providers statewide.

In Charlotte, RAMP CLT program, which is administered by DreamKey Partners, has provided $15,635,209 to roughly 5-thousand families.

“We see people who are fearful and there have been months when we thought it was coming, but this truly is it,” Crisis Assistance CEO Carol Hardison told WBTV on Monday.

Hardison says their door is open and the help is still here.

“We’re gonna check and see is there anyone in the community that can best fit their need,” she said. “If they don’t have a covid impact or something that allows other funds to be available, we will meet the need.”

It’s a God-send for women like Tiffany Murphy, who says she has been out of a job since contracting COVID-19 in May.

“Then my boys end up catching COVID, my two children,” she said. “We still have symptoms since then and it’s just been devastating.”

Murphy says without this ministry, they could be on the street.

“They’ve helped me with my rent in the past, they’ve directed me to food banks, they’ve asked do you need any extra help,” she said.

If you’re at risk of eviction, Legal Aid attorney Isaac Sturgill says you have a few options.

“Apply for rental assistance right away if you know you’re behind you should do that immediately,” Sturgill said. “For tenants who have already received court papers, if they’re interested in seeing if Legal Aid can help represent them in court it’s free to call our hotline.”

Legal Aid NC represents low-income tenants who are unable to afford an attorney.

Prior to the moratorium ending, Mecklenburg County already had a backlog of 2,575 pending eviction cases.

“It may take a substantial amount of time to clear that backlog,” Sturgill said.

Sturgill says that means you could have more time to apply for the assistance you need.

He also said, however, it’s important for people to realize that the moratorium prevented evictions from being processed, but they were still able to be filed.

Click here to find resources through Crisis Assistance Ministry.

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