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Utah offers rental assistance as federal moratorium that prevented evictions ends

Posted at 12:30 PM, Aug 05, 2020

SALT LAKE CITY — The federal moratorium that prevented landlords from evicting residents who can’t pay their rent due to COVID-19-related problems has expired.

On Wednesday, the state of Utah announced rental assistance for people who are losing the $600 weekly federal unemployment benefit.

Utah's Department of Workforce Services is tweaking the rules to allow more people to apply for it.

Read the full letter from DWFS here for qualifications and application information.

The Utah Housing Coalition says so far, people have been paying their rent thanks to stimulus checks and additional funding, but that’s likely to change.

Executive Director Tara Rollins says it’s hard to know how many evictions will happen -- or if the numbers have even gone up during the pandemic -- because so many people have been receiving assistance through multiple programs.

“My hope is that these renters will reach out to some of these agencies to see if they can help with assistance,” Rollins said.

According to Utah State Courts data, in March there were 447 evictions statewide. The number dropped to 207 in April before rising in May to 251 and again in June to 523.

Rollins said there were 150 evictions just this past Monday.

“I am concerned about that large number, in the fact that you know there has been assistance available this whole time and perhaps why people weren’t reaching out,” Rollins said.

Rollins believes that without assistance, the number of evictions will rise in the next few months.

“I think September is going to be the tipping point for a lot of the evictions,” she said. “Landlords have bills, they also have maintenance, property taxes, they need to make sure that their business stays full, as well as the tenants stay housed.”

Without a place to live, she worries that many will be moving in with other family members or end up on the streets.

“I believe we are going to see additional homeless people, whether it’s families,” Rollins said. “We’re also going to see people doubling and tripling up and that’s not a healthy way to live during a pandemic.”

She’s urging renters to reach out to their landlords to come up with a plan to avoid eviction.

If you do need help you can dial 211 or visit this website to get information on rental assistance.