On Sunday, the CDC’s ban on evictions will end. North Carolina’s eviction moratorium ended on July 1st after six Republican officials voted to reject Governor Cooper’s request to extend it by one month. 

The eviction moratorium banned evictions that resulted from the pandemic. Criminal evictions were still allowed as well as those where tenants were overstaying an expired lease. The moratorium was originally put in place to help stop the spread of COVID amongst those on the streets and in shelters. COVID spread easily among those experiencing homelessness, so it was vital that the moratorium was put in place to prevent cases from rising. 

An analysis done by the National Equity Atlas of the US Census May survey data showed that 182,000 households in North Carolina are behind on rent with an average debt of $2,700. While many of these households will likely pay off their debt, others have accumulated rental debt across several months and can’t afford to pay it off. Without assistance, these households will likely face eviction once the ban is lifted.

On the other side of the crisis are the landlords who are no longer collecting rental income from their property. Many small landlords have been facing financial burdens through COVID as their tenants miss their rent payments. While the moratorium has been helpful for tenants struggling to make ends meet, some landlords are finding it difficult to pay their mortgages or maintain their properties without reliable rental income from their tenants.

Once the moratorium ends, many renters will be subject to eviction, but that doesn’t mean they will all be on the streets as soon as the ban is lifted. Each case will need to go to court which will take time to schedule and eventually hear the cases. The effects from the end of the moratorium will not be seen immediately, but across the next several weeks. We will likely see a rise in the number of people on the streets as well as in shelters. 

North Carolina has developed the HOPE program to help households with rent and utility assistance. Those making less than 80% of the median income, who became unemployed or faced financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, who have missed rent and utility payments, or who have faced eviction since April 2020 due to the pandemic may be eligible for assistance. HOPE program applicants can received up to 12 months of aid in the form of rental assistance and eviction protection.

The surge in rental prices can be seen across the Triangle already, but will continue as the area grows. Finding affordable housing is becoming increasingly difficult for those earning a low wage, living with a disability, or who have other barriers to conventional rental housing. Over the next few years, CASA intends to add 500 affordable rental units to the Triangle’s housing stock, providing more options for those who are finding themselves priced out. Please consider a donation today to help us grow to serve even more of our community.

Anne Shelton Porterfield, CASA Communications Intern