In less than a week, many of these North Carolina families could be facing eviction proceedings.
With the federal eviction moratorium ending this week, the number of North Carolina residents facing homelessness could skyrocket. However, there are still millions in rental assistance dollars locally available to help.
The US Treasury Dept. reported last week that the demand for rental assistance in June swamped the needs of the previous three months combined. The number of households receiving assistance surpassed 290,000, up 85% from May’s 160,000 total and nearly tripling April’s 100,000 served. More than $1.5 billion in funds were delivered.
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Still, the surges point to increasing need and a likely wave of demand when the July 31 deadline for the evictions moratorium arrives. In North Carolina, 206,000 households are behind on rent, with an average debt of $2,800 apiece.
Mecklenburg County has the highest number of such households in the state, with 28,000 behind on rent as the eviction moratorium ends Saturday. That means in less than a week, these families could be facing eviction proceedings.
Fortunately, there are still public funds available to help. Thanks to federal CARES Act funding, the COVID-19 Rental and Mortgage Assistance Program (RampCLT) received $10 million in assistance for rent, mortgage, long-term hotel stays, and rental and utility deposits. As of publishing, $9.5 million was still undistributed, though about 5,500 households are currently in the application process. Charlotte’s Crisis Assistance Ministry also provides rent and utility assistance. If a household is already in the eviction process, Legal Aid offers free advice and guidance.
Congresswoman Alma Adams, a Democrat representing the 12th District, has been lobbying for state leadership to extend the moratorium a month or more.
Adams sent a letter to Chief District Court Judge Elizabeth Trosch, Mecklenburg County Sheriff Garry McFadden, and Mecklenburg County Clerk of Superior Court Elisa Chinn Gary demanding they do “everything within [their] powers to effectively extend the eviction moratorium in Mecklenburg County through the month of August or later.”