OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Just as the number of COVID-19 cases starts to increase in the United States, federal protections for those at risk of eviction are set to end.
The moratorium was put in place in Sept. of 2020 by the CDC to slow the virus spread by those put out on the streets and into shelters.
According to the National Low-Income Housing Coalition, about 6.5 million households were behind on rent earlier this month and around half of those families and individuals worry that they could be evicted in the next two months. Housing advocates said it's not the time to end the moratorium for a few different reasons.
One reason is the number of COVID-19 cases is climbing again as the more transmissible delta variant spreads across the U.S.
Another reason is many of those that are facing eviction have not received their rental assistance yet due to distribution speeds.
Congress allocated roughly $46 billion in rental assistance, but just $3 billion has been distributed.
Scott Mertz with Legal Aid of Nebraska said there are also other growing concerns as the end of the moratorium becomes reality.
"There is a concern that the courts are going to be overrun. Again, in-person hearings where you could have an excess of 70, 80, 90 hearings in a single week, that's pretty typical pre-pandemic numbers and we are concerned that we are going to see numbers higher than they were pre-pandemic," Mertz said.
He added that those who fear eviction due to pandemic-related losses need to apply for rental assistance and reach out to an attorney.
Those resources can be found at Legal Aid of Nebraska's website.
Mertz said for those that cannot afford an attorney, Legal Aid of Nebraska provides free legal assistance.