The federal eviction moratorium imposed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention expired on July 31, and landlords in many parts of the country can officially begin removing people from their homes.
According to CNN, more than 3 million people said they were likely to be evicted within the next two months nationwide. In Missouri, thousands of families face potential eviction with the expiration of the moratorium.
In Columbia, Rock the Community, a local organization that helps with job readiness, financial literacy, youth mentoring, community wellness and rental assistance, has been helping people who have been evicted since the moratorium expired over the weekend.
“We have had an overflow of calls within the last week. We’re averaging right now, probably 105 calls per day,” said Rodney March, assistant director for Rock the Community.
“People are in a panic right now because they’re in a position to where they’re going to be without housing.”
According to March, roughly 300 people have called looking for assistance in the past few days.
March’s job, as of now, is to get as much information from people as possible and expedite their rent payments.
“So, if we can get all their stuff verified, we’re trying to expedite it, instead of on a normal basis, where maybe the process application would take two weeks, we’re trying to process it in two to three days,” March said.
Jennifer Fliess, a certified peer support with the ReEntry Opportunity Center, has first-hand experience with eviction.
Fliess said she was evicted last year from her home in Columbia. She developed a drug addiction and her children were taken from her.
During the pandemic, she was homeless, but eventually she received treatment for her addiction, went into a sober living home and has been focusing on getting back into the Columbia community.
While the moratorium did not impact her, she recognizes that the end of the moratorium will have dire consequences on the Columbia residents who are facing evictions.
“When you hear the word ‘eviction,’ I mean, it’s enough to turn your world upside down,” Fliess said. “This is a college town. This is a place that people come to. I think that’s going to be horrific. I do know that there are many resources in Columbia, but I also know that not everybody is aware.”
March said the end of the moratorium will harm families from marginalized communities, across the nation and throughout Missouri.
“Missouri is scheduled to start doing evictions immediately. And, to my knowledge, it looked like they were averaging about 35 per day,” March said.