CLEVELAND — President Donald Trump’s Sunday night signature on the $2.3 trillion legislation, which included $900 billion of COVID relief, was a relief for lawyers like Abigail Staudt at The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland.
Renters stood to lose the protection they’ve had since September to stay in their homes even if they aren’t able to pay the full rent because of the hardship created by the coronavirus pandemic.
But that relief is temporary.
“It feels like a buffer,” said Staudt.
The CDC’s Eviction Moratorium was due to expire on December 31. The extension included in the relief bill pushes that date to January 31 while also adding $25 billion worth of rental assistance payments, helping landlords get at least some of their income so they don’t fall behind on bills.
That rental assistance comes from the federal government and is distributed by the state, often with the help of local organizations to reach individual residents. Around Cleveland, CHN Housing Partners and Eden Inc. has been doing that work so far. CHN Housing Partners tells News 5 they expect to be involved with future rounds of funding too.
Staudt says that rental assistance is an important way to fight the coronavirus.
“That’s the safest way for people to avoid spreading the disease,” said Staudt. “Not doubling up with family members, not going to our shelters.”
Before the CDC’s protection, Staudt says Ohio had a patchwork quilt of protections with some cities helping residents while other cities didn’t.
The CDC’s Eviction Moratorium has been in place since September, is broader than that piecemeal approach, but is still subject to interpretation.
“Many jurisdictions implement it differently,” said Staudt.
The incoming Biden Administration will only have 11 days once it takes over to extend the moratorium again.
“My hopes are high,” said Staudt. “I really don’t think there is any other thing that is reasonably to do except to continue to extend an eviction moratorium.”
If you’re looking for help:
- Stay in contact with your landlord if you can’t pay your full rent and let them know you’re looking for help.
- Reach out to organizations like CHN Housing Partners and Eden Inc. for rental assistance even if you got help before. You might be able to get more help now.
- Call the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland so you can connect with any help they might be able to offer.
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