Bipartisan Group Calls For Rental Aid To Avert January Eviction Crisis

By David Boraks
December 16, 2020

A bipartisan group of housing experts and policymakers says extending state or federal eviction moratoriums won’t be enough to avert a national crisis in the new year. On Tuesday, the group called for state and federal financial aid.

Researchers estimate at least 7 million households nationwide are at risk of eviction after Jan. 1. That’s when a federal moratorium on evictions ends and extended unemployment benefits expire.

In North Carolina, as many as 300,000 evictions are possible, said Rick Glazier, executive director of the North Carolina Justice Center.

“Those kind of numbers, which is why we’re having this discussion today, would overwhelm the courts and social service agencies in the state,” Glazier said. “We need time to work out arrangements to resolve nonpayment of rent situations. But we also need the resources to help resolve those situations. One without the other does not get us very far.”

Glazier spoke at the first meeting of the Duke Eviction Prevention Working Group, organized by Duke Law School and the North Carolina Leadership Forum.

By resources he means financial assistance to cover months of unpaid rent during the coronavirus pandemic. A national survey of landlords found that more than 35% did not get all the rent they were owed this fall.

Jesse McCoy, a lawyer and lecturer at Duke, backed the idea of providing support for landlords. He said state and federal moratoriums have kept them from being able to collect rent or evict bad tenants.

“Small local landlords have essentially had their properties commandeered by tacit order of the government, and have essentially been forced to provide free housing, in some cases dating all the way back to March,” McCoy said.

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This story was produced by the Charlotte Journalism Collaborative, a partnership of six media companies working together in an effort started by the Solutions Journalism Network and funded by The Knight Foundation.

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