Extended federal moratorium to bring relief for struggling renters

Published: Jan. 22, 2021 at 10:46 PM EST
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - It’s a new year, but the same money problems are following behind from 2020.

“Just got laid off when the pandemic started, and since then, everywhere I’ve been putting in applications at, they aren’t really been doing hiring because of the pandemic,” Victor Reynolds said.

People like Reynolds need some relief. Friday morning, he received a warning from his home, giving him 72 hours to pay before facing an eviction notice.

“If they do the eviction, I’ll take my stuff out of here and I got to start over, go to a shelter until I get a job and start over. That’s all I can do,” he said.

Like many people, he’s counting on the recently extended federal moratorium which pauses evictions for non-payment of rent.

“You’re thinking you’re going to get work, or you’re going to get your unemployment. You don’t think, ‘just two months from now, I might not get either one of them and I better go file it,” Reynolds said.

In order to get moratorium protections, renters must fill out a form and give it to a landlord.

However, it doesn’t protect you if you are breaking other terms of the lease. It only protects you if you can’t pay rent but are an otherwise good tenant.

For people already facing eviction, it’s not too late and if your eviction is not final, you can still be protected.

“We are finding that it is much more complicated than anyone’s thought because none of us have gone through this before,” Brittany Burnett, president of United Way of the CSRA, said.

The United Way of the CSRA has seen more than 1,700 COVID-19 assistance related calls, with 40 percent of those for rental needs.

“The moratorium is helpful for many, but it’s not a blanket wide moratorium,” Burnett said.

The moratorium only protects the roof over renters’ heads. But they’ve received calls for help with mortgage and utilities too.

For people like Reynolds, waiting for help or work, when he’s capable--is the hardest part.

“I pray about it. Once I pray about it, I just got to hope he answers the prayer,” he said.

Again, that federal moratorium only applies to people facing eviction because they can’t pay rent. People can still be evicted for other reasons.

And the CSRA as many local resources for rent and utility assistance as well:

You can call the Marion Barnes Resource Center at 706-724-8588

Contact the Salvation Army Center of Hope by appointment only. This is located at 1384 Greene Street. Schedule an appointment by calling 706-922-8330.

If you’re not sure who to call, you can always call 211 for guided assistance from a United Way of the CSRA agent.

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