End of Federal Eviction Moratorium Could Effect Local Residents

The Federal Eviction Moratorium, which stops landlords from evicting tenants who fail to pay rent, has been extended through the end of January.

While incoming president Joe Biden plans to ask congress for a continuation of the extension, it is not certain they will approve it.

Even if congress does approve the extension, there could be a two to three week bracket when the moratorium has expired and residents are permitted to be evicted.

Molly Hilligoss of the Wicomico County Habitat for Humanity worries about the potential pitfall.

“People are not vaccinated yet, students are not back to school, business is to back to usual and we need to keep people sheltered, this moratorium needs to be extended for at least four more months until we see herd immunity. “

While a temporary lift on the moratorium may seem manageable, having an eviction on your record could have permanent life consequences, even if the court process continues after the moratorium is renewed.

Hilligoss notes, “that will negatively impact renter’s credit and their ability to get affordable housing because it will be recorded in Maryland case search and that’s like a Scarlett letter for renters.”

The Wicomico County Habitat for Humanity warns residents to stay ahead of the curb. If you are in the county they can help with that.

“Folks need to be applying right now for rental assistance, if they’re one month behind, two months, please apply. We can do at Habitat for HWMCO County for residents outside of city limits we can help with up to three months of rental assistance.”

Helping with rental assistance is new for Habitat for Humanity, but they’ve been getting results.

“We’re happy to do it, we’re making a difference.

We’ve saved 62 families so far from being evicted.”

Even if you are not evicted but have to move homes, places like Shepherd’s Office in Georgetown do provide help, like bus passes should you be further away from work, healthy food and functional clothes.

“We try to give them fresh, home cooked meals that are coming from someone’s stove, the prepared food that they sell is horrible for you, horrible for your health,” says Jim Martin of Shepherd’s Office.

Shepherds Office is ready to help and doesn’t ask specific questions. You can be without a home, on the precipice, or just finding yourself in need of resources.

“We don’t ask any questions anyone is welcome to have free clothes, free food, we have a free yard free, I call it a yard free but its a free yard sale.”

Falling into homelessness, even for a short period of time, can have serious consequences.

“A lot of people lose their lives out on the streets its a brutal way to exist as a human being. First of all its exhausting, exhausting on every level. And on top of that, you feel despair because you feel stigmatized.

You can drop by anytime during the day for a free meal, Shepherd’s Office is well stocked.

“We gave out 150 free meals today, tomorrow we have a free dinner plan”

For help with renter’s assistance if you’re in Wicomico County you can go to Wicomicohabitat.org. To connect with Jim Martin in Georgetown you can email him at Jimmartin767@gmail.com or type his name on Facebook and send him a message.

Dodge Landesman 47ABC