CSRA crisis feared as ban on evictions expires this month

Updated: Jun. 9, 2021 at 7:19 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - A nationwide ban on evictions is about to end. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention eviction moratorium is set to expire in three weeks on June 30.

Augusta city leaders say they’re concerned the change will heavily impact homelessness in Augusta.

Hundreds of people could get evicted at the end of the month. We spoke to someone with the Augusta Housing Authority and he says the number of evictions after this month could be up to four times higher than normal. The end of the month and the end of the moratorium is just three weeks away.

“The eviction moratorium didn’t forgive rent, it only delayed evictions, so any rent that was due is still currently due when this moratorium expires,” said Douglas Freeman, deputy executive director for the Augusta Housing Authority.

Freeman says about 160 of their residents are behind on rent. He says the housing authority has been working with their residents for six months now to help them find ways to pay the rent.

“Any eviction is a bad thing, we don’t want to evict people, we’re gonna work with them as best we can, and steer them to the programs that might be able to assist them so we don’t have to evict,” he said.

One of the programs he’s been telling them about is the United Way’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program. He says this is open to anyone in Richmond County whose had trouble paying the rent.

“The United Way has an emergency rental assistance program that tenants can apply for and that is not just for public housing residents, that includes any rental that has gotten behind because of the pandemic,” he said.

Here’s a closer look at just how many people in our area could be impacted by the lifted ban on evictions.

In Richmond County, the exact numbers aren’t available to us today but the Augusta City Clerk says they have roughly 150 evictions pending. No word on how many of those are directly related to the CDC ban on evictions. In Columbia County 154 pending evictions from March 2020 to now. In Aiken County, there are 79 pending evictions. We know at least 42 of those are on hold under the CDC’s ban.

For more information on the Section 8 re-evaluation process, visit the Housing Choice Voucher Program Guidebook.

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