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CDC eviction moratorium ends July 31; why homeless shelters are bracing for Monday

“We only have so many rooms,” said Sauls. “We only have so many programs that we can create to...
“We only have so many rooms,” said Sauls. “We only have so many programs that we can create to take care of those facing eviction.”(WIS)
Published: Jul. 31, 2021 at 6:26 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - The CDC’s eviction moratorium ends July 31, 2021, with no plans to extend it again. Homeless shelters are gearing up for what could be the start of a homelessness crisis as early as Monday, lawyers say.

Lila Anna Sauls, President of Homeless No More, says Midlands shelters have been overwhelmed for the last 18 months of the pandemic, but she’s expecting many calls next week from families that need a place to stay.

“We only have so many rooms,” said Sauls. “We only have so many programs that we can create to take care of those facing eviction.”

Shelters have been planning for a surge in homeless families for months, says Sauls, and they’re preparing tools, resources, and programs to assist those that reach out for help.

“Let’s help these families whether it’s helping them remain housed or get them into one of our programs, let’s get it done,” said Sauls.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities says South Carolina is one of a few states where a high rate of renters are behind on payments, with 28% reporting they are falling behind as of July 5th.

Adam Protheroe, a litigation attorney with Appleseed Legal Justice Center, says the major concern is that we haven’t been without eviction protection during the pandemic, so it’s hard to say just how many families will be evicted.

Another issue is that rental assistance funds haven’t made it to enough renters. Protheroe says South Carolina received about $350 million in rental assistance funds, but less than $1 million has made it to the hands of renters.

“In most places really, it isn’t moving nearly fast enough to get the assistance out to people in time for them to not be homeless,” said Protheroe.

He says, although landlords are struggling too, it’s important that evictions don’t outpace funds as some people may still be waiting for their checks.

“We have a crisis now, and the rental assistance is the way to stop the bleeding,” said Protheroe. “But, I mean, if we allow this sort of economic crisis to turn into a homelessness crisis, well it’s really going to be a preventable tragedy.”

Protheroe says it’s important that without the eviction moratorium, renters who are struggling to pay rent ask for legal help. He says there are low-cost or free resources available, but it is also important to connect with the landlord and have an honest conversation about any struggles the renter is going through.

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