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Help Is Still Available For Renters Facing Eviction

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211 Tampa Bay Cares, a social service agency, says it’s paid out $10 million in rental assistance since Congress approved the act in March

For people in the Tampa Bay region who are facing eviction due to the pandemic, assistance is still available through the federal CARES Act. The program ends December 30. Duggan Cooley, CEO of the Pinellas Community Foundation, says don’t wait if you think you need help.

“You do not have to be facing imminent eviction, to reach out and ask for help. The more we can do, while we have a great amount of money in the community through the CARES Act before December 30, will pay dividends after January 1,” he said on a webinar hosted by 211 Tampa Bay Cares.

So far, Congress has been unable to pass additional assistance for renters. Cooley says a simple fix would be to allow nonprofits to keep spending CARES Act money past the December 30 deadline.

Landlords and owners of rental properties also say Congress needs to act before the end of the year. Eric Garduno of the Bay Area Apartment Association also spoke on the webinar.

“We are lobbying very hard to see a stimulus package that includes rent assistance as a key component of that included, and that really needs to get done in the lame duck session. So that should be the highest priority for policymakers in our region, and around the country,” he said.

Florida’s moratorium on evictions has expired, but a federal ban issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention remains in place.

If you need help with rent, 211 Tampa Bay Cares has information on tenant rights, the eviction process, and rental assistance.

Bradley George was a Morning Edition host and reporter at WUSF until March 2022.
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