NEW YORK (NewsNation Now) — It’s been extended several times, but the national moratorium on evictions is set to end this week. Now, anxiety is growing across the country as millions of families who are unable to pay what they owe fear they’re about to wind up on the street.
It’s especially true for many low-income residents of America’s most expensive city: New York.
Some housing advocates, who know federal help will soon run out, are trying to keep low-income residents in their homes.
“It’s getting more and more anxiety-provoking for a lot of people,” said Shali Sharma, director of Supportive Housing Program at Bronxworks.
But “a lot” may be an understatement.
In New York City, about 500,000 people are behind on rent to the tune of $2.2 billion, according to the National Equity Atlas.
Nationally, after 16 months of the COVID-19 pandemic, the numbers are even more staggering.
At least 6.4 million Americans are behind, with landlords across the country owed more than $20 billion.
Some families are wondering where they will go once the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s eviction moratorium expires Saturday.
The South Bronx is considered the most impoverished Congressional district in the nation. Of the 10 New York City zip codes at the highest risk for evictions, eight are in this community.
“I’m just doing what I have to do as a parent — as a human being. I have to take care of my responsibilities,” said Ana Roman, a South Bronx resident who is facing eviction.
Roman has four children and has lived in the neighborhood her entire life. She’s been homeless before and worries she will be again soon.
“It’s ever so real, like a slap on the face, like, and it just hit my stomach,” she said. “Like, ‘Oh God, what have I done? We’re really gonna be on the street?’”
Housing advocates are preparing for mass evictions while they hold on to one last thread of hope – a final extension they say would give the states time to distribute billions in rental aid.
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