A recent survey by the US Census Bureau shows that currently more than 194,000 North Carolinians are one to six months behind with their rent.
With some in Fayetteville threatened with eviction, city officials and nonprofit groups have stepped in to provide assistance.
Looking to rent a home in Cumberland County? That’s how much you need for an hour
As part of the recent national moratorium extension by the Centers for Disease Control, those who live in areas where increased COVID-19 case numbers occur due to the delta variant are protected until October 3rd from eviction due to non-payment of rent and other fees.
Fayetteville is currently complying with the latest moratorium. Chris Cauley, the city’s director of economic development, said in an email that the magistrate will continue eviction hearings on non-payments until after October 3rd.
Along with the rest of the state Cumberland County experiences high levels of community transmission, according to current CDC data.
To be protected under the moratorium, tenants must fill out a CDC declaration and give it to their landlord, according to Legal Aid NC.
Cauley said city officials also donated $ 87,000 from the Community Development Block Grant to nonprofits like the Salvation Army and the Fayetteville City Department to help households at risk. Cauley said the city is trying to place case managers in the Cumberland County Courthouse to help with eviction procedures.
The city and county have teamed up to create the Rent Assistance Program to help people in need by providing rental and utility allowances.
Last spring, the city and the district agreed to provide more than $ 9.58 million in rental and utility services through the program. As of Aug. 12, the program has processed 3,408 applications and distributed nearly $ 475,000 in Fayetteville, according to city records.
As of August 12, the records indicate that 461 applications had been made in Cumberland County. The county had spent more than $ 21,400 in assistance.
Before the CDC extended their final moratorium, Kathy Greggs, president and co-founder of the Fayetteville Police Accountability Community Taskforce, said that she and members of other nonprofits went to the Cumberland County Courthouse to seek information about evictions, rental subsidies, and the like to deliver. She said they helped connect people to legal counsel.
Greggs said she met some people who didn’t have the rental assistance program number or the technology to fill out assistance applications.
At Seth’s Wish, a local nonprofit group focused on homelessness, Lindsey Wofford, the group’s executive director, said they have helped some families with hotel payments. Wofford and her team also called legal counsel and made sure people knew about the rental assistance program.
“The biggest way Seth’s Wish can help is in everyday life,” said Wofford. “We’re more of an emergency when you’ve been kicked out and have to sleep outside.
Wofford said that some people she works with have been resourceful in getting the help they need while others need some help, mostly older people who have difficulty accessing application-filling technology.
Wofford said she was impressed with the rental assistance program after long waits on another program.
As the moratorium nears expiry, Wofford said her team can do little to prepare for a potential mass group searching for resources, especially as the moratorium keeps being renewed.
“There’s no preparation,” she said. “There are a lot of fearful people who don’t know what they’re going to do … not just financially, but emotionally.”
Greggs said she believed those on community watch programs should go to areas where people could be evicted to provide resources. She also said a central place should be established for people to get resources for evictions and believes that nonprofits and local government need to work together. Greggs said the city and county need to develop a strategy for how aid will be delivered.
“This is a struggle for human existence, and when we are apart with this cause we will all be utterly helpless because we are not helping,” Greggs said.
To apply for city and county rental or utility grants, visit https://iem-preregistration.com/cumberland-nc or call 1-888-495-7710.
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