CHATTANOOGA, Tennessee- COVID has been an equally opportunity destroyer.
President of the community Foundation of Northwest Georgia David Aft said housing and homelessness were already problems before the pandemic and COVID’s impact has just exacerbated the problem.
“As the courts open up as the relationship between tenants and landlords evolves you will see the housing instability be made worse by expected evictions,” said Aft.
“And it’s a nationwide problem we’re expecting 40 million people to be in danger of eviction next year and so even a small percentage that in our community will be a large number,” said Dalton-Whitfield Community Development Interim Director Reed Fincher.
Aft said when people fall behind on their bills it’s extremely difficult to catch back up.
“They’re not easy solutions you can’t just issue somebody a $100 voucher if your rent is $900 a month and you’re four months behind,” said Aft.
Fincher said this can leads to them losing their home and finding a new place for people to live can be a struggle.
“Call each Landlord do you have anything today, A list of 40 apartment buildings on it maybe one will be available each day we call,” said Fincher.
Apartment evictions have been placed on hold due to the CARES act in order to protect those unemployed due to COVID. However the Moratorium is set to lift at the start of the new year. Fincher said renewing the moratorium has pros and cons.
“When the moratorium expires they’re expected to catch up all at once and that’s why we can see a wave of evictions. Renewing it causes problems to landlords have to pay their bills so we’re not quite sure what people are supposed to do if they’re months behind their rent,” said Fincher.
Aft said they know what the problem is now many minds are coming together to create a solution.