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With eviction ban expiring, local groups brace for housing needs

Published: Jul. 30, 2021 at 7:43 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 2, 2021 at 7:24 AM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - The federal eviction moratorium expired Saturday.

It had been in place for most of the pandemic keeping those behind on their rent safe from evictions. Richmond County estimates hundreds of local families will be impacted by the change.

We’re getting a glance at just how many people in Augusta will be impacted. Augusta’s Housing and Community Development Department says more than 200 families have eviction hearings set. Our local organizations that help with rent and housing needs are hoping for the best but preparing for the worst.

“Now they’re realizing that there will not be an extension on this moratorium, and now they really are at risk,” said Brittany Burnett.

After three extensions, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s eviction moratorium which protects renters from eviction because late payment is coming to an end.

“The last thing that we want, and the last thing these families want is to be displaced,” said Burnett.

Burnett is the president of the United Way of the CSRA.

She says in the last couple of weeks they’ve seen a huge increase in people applying for their rent assistance program.

“Single residents, young and old, and then we’re also seeing families with numerous kids, families with newborns, that really are worried, where they might be next week, if they don’t get assistance,” she said.

Augusta’s Housing and Community Development has been working to try to get ahead.

“There are at least 200 residents, 200 households that are scheduled on the dockets for eviction hearings to proceed forward in August, so that certainly creates a heightened risk,” said Daniel Evans, Housing and Community Development, Development Manager.

For the more than 200 people facing evictions hearings next month HCD’s new partnership with the court helps them at the final stage.

“We’re able to provide direct intervention in the courtroom to either provide a status update to the judge of an applicant who’s already applied for assistance or to begin the process of applying for assistance,” said Evans.

HCD says there are at least 15 eviction hearings a day. They expect that to ramp up next month but they do plan to be right there in the courtrooms.

If you want to apply for the United Way’s rent assistance program, you can pull out your phone and text the word ‘RENT’ to 50503 or visit their website. For eviction, homeless prevention services you can call the Marion Barnes Resource Center at 706-724-8588. For South Carolina residents who need help with rent and utilities you can visit their website at South Carolina Housing.

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