JONESBORO, Ark- The CDC is halting all home evictions across the country through December.
This protects individuals who lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic or, don’t have other reliable housing options if they were evicted.
“It would help them keep them in their own homes so that they are not out in the community either acquiring COVID-19 or transmitting COVID-19 to others,” says Deputy Chief Medical Officer for the Arkansas Department of Health, Dr. Appathurai Balamurugan. “I think this would be helpful for us when we are in the middle of a pandemic.”
In late July, when the coronavirus relief package expired, so did eviction protection.
Day it expired, multiple sheriff’s departments across the region told me they would serve eviction notices if given one.
Dr. Bala says with 3,000 homeless people in the state, there is worry that a possible surge in cases could have happened.
Jason Auer with legal aid of arkansas, explains how one can gain the protection.
“You have to suffer a loss of income or have significant medical expenses,” says Legal Aid of Arkansas Fair Housing Project Director Jason Auer. “But if those things are true with you and your landlord is threatening to evict you for nonpayment of rent then, you actually have to fill out a declaration under the law and give that to your landlord. All before this moratorium; can cover you.”
Auer says this will help renters in Arkansas.
Landlords could face harsh penalties if they violate the order, which doesn’t offer financial assistance for the lost rent.
Dr. Bala says eviction during to the pandemic could have had a trickling effect.
“Families with children they could go through a severe mental stress or trauma. Not to mention about them landing in a congregate shelter and possibly acquire or transmit COVID-19. So, it has more implications for mitigating COVID-19, but it has a bigger implication.”
Auer says since the pandemic, Legal Aid is seeing an increase in eviction help. He says if you need help drafting the declaration or finding out if you qualify for this eviction protection, Legal Aid is offering assistance.
Dr. Bala says the ADH is working to contain COVID-19 in homeless shelters.
The department is traveling to shelters across the state to offer isolation and quarantine services to people who might not have a place to properly isolate.