ATLANTA, Ga. (CW69 News at 10) — The future is still uncertain for many renters, even after President Donald Trump authorized the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to put a moratorium on evictions for the next several months. Local agencies are looking for long term solutions.
Celeste Berry says her family was already on housing assistance before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. They even couldn’t afford the rent before the pandemic and were forced to move into a hotel last August. Then, like so many scenarios playing out right now, things got much worse.
“Because they shut everything down, we couldn’t go nowhere, we were all stuck in one room,” she said.
“When is this actually gonna end. When is something gonna change? When is the sun gonna come back out?” Berry added.
She says the United Way helped her family get a new apartment in Fulton County at the end of July and made things a little brighter.
Sarah Stein (pictured left), an Affordable Housing Research Advisor with the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, discussed a new eviction tracking tool. Click here for details: https://t.co/KOfmHk384Z pic.twitter.com/zeasZ9RVcg
— Valencia E. Jones (@vjreports3) September 9, 2020
However, now that the CDC will halt evictions through December 31, 2020, local agencies say the moratorium is just delaying the inevitable for thousands of renters.
“Someone who can’t pay their rent for six months, even if they have job at that point, it’s going to be so much more of a challenge,” said Protip Biswas, the Vice President of the United Way of Greater Atlanta’s Regional Commission on Homelessness.
A number of local organizations are working to find solutions before the stop on evictions ends. They discussed these efforts and a new eviction tracking tool during last week’s Atlanta Regional Housing Forum.
Affordable Housing Research Advisor Sarah Stein, who works for the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, says the tool will help track the number of eviction filings and identify properties where landlords have filed multiple evictions, in addition to other data.
She says the week of August 23, 2020, reflected the highest number of eviction cases in DeKalb and Fulton Counties since March. It’s data she says ties into the employment situation as well.
“As the Urban Institute has estimated, for jobs under $40,000 in the Atlanta Metro Area, there’s an estimate that 81,214 jobs have been lost due to COVID-19,” said Stein.
Agencies say they hope people will continue submitting job and housing applications as needed until the worst is over.
“Agencies are stepping up and doing their best, but there are not enough resources to help everyone. Help is available now, you just have to keep trying,” said Biswas.
The United Way of Greater Atlanta also referenced Atlanta’s COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program, which is providing $22 million to City of Atlanta residents with rental and utility relief. If you have experienced income loss due to the pandemic and are a City of Atlanta resident, you may be eligible to receive assistance for past due rent or utility bills up to $3,000 through the program. To learn more, click here. You can also text the keyword C19-ERA to 898-211 to be directed to the application page.
Click here to view the eviction tracking tool.
For information on the Atlanta Regional Housing Forum and eviction resources, click here.