(WYTV) – It has been a struggle for some renters during the pandemic, fearing possible eviction. For people in public housing, one of their protections will expire down the road.
Renters were concerned very quickly when the layoffs started, but frankly, many of them got the wrong message.
“We’ve had people who have stated to us, frankly, ‘The governor said I don’t have to pay rent.’ Well, the governor never said that,” said Don Emerson, with the Trumbull Metropolitan Housing Authority.
For people in public housing, the U.S. Department of Housing and Development (HUD) has a moratorium on evictions that runs through July 24.
The Youngstown Metropolitan Housing Authority averages four evictions a month at each of the 10 properties it manages, which hold about 7,000 people.
About 30% are struggling to make complete rent payments right now, which is slightly higher than normal.
“We are not threatening to evict them. We just share with them that they are behind on their rent,” said Jason Whitehead, with the Youngstown MHA.
The Trumbull MHA has had a 7% drop in collections between January and May, but its collections only dropped $3,000. That’s because when there’s a variation in income, rents may rise or go lower.
But many tenants with low incomes may have lost their jobs, so housing costs are taking more of what money they do have.
“The challenge is whether or not people will be able to return to work,” Whitehead said.
Those people are also juggling needs such as food and paying other bills.
Payment plans are always an option to help people catch up if they fall behind.
“The bottom line for us is we wholly recognize that our mission is to house people. Nothing that we do is going to be a change from what we’ve done in the past with our residents. When they’ve gotten behind, we’ve worked with them and we will work with these folks,” Emerson said.
The HUD moratorium on evictions in public housing started on March 27.