LANSING, Mich. — At the end of the month a national moratorium on evictions – put in place because of COVID-19 – will expire. Experts say there is the potential that millions of Americans could find themselves homeless in the new year. As Maya Rodriguez tells us those facing that possibility are scrambling for options.
Wrapping gifts during the holidays is a highlight for Stacy Williams, doing it even for friends and family who ask her to do theirs. But this year the normally happy task masks a sad year.
Stacy Williams explained “there's no tree. There’s no decorations. It's just not something that I'm used to because Christmas is my favorite time of year.”
Williams and her family evacuated their rental home in Southwest Louisiana just before Hurricane Laura. “then in the midst of everything between Laura and also Delta, we lost my mom.” A deep loss she’s still trying to come to terms with as she faces a potential new loss – eviction from her home. “So many people are going through it and it's just like, ‘what are we supposed to do?’
“It’s not hard to find damage around Lake Charles but it is hard to find suitable housing for those who have been displaced, months after Hurricanes Laura and Delta tore through here.”
Stephanie Wagner, American Red Cross of Louisiana “it's been a very dynamic and ever evolving situation.” Stephanie Wagner is with the American Red Cross of Louisiana which is working to help Stacy Williams – and others -- find a new place to live because hurricanes impacted their work and living situations. Stephanie Wagner shared that “for the financial assistance that is provided, that is one of the uses that residents can use it for. It can be used for a down payment. It can be used to kind of supplement what they may need for any kind of rental assistance and we are partnering with other agencies including FEMA, to again find either temporary housing or more long-term and sustainable housing for these individuals.”
But for others not impacted by natural disasters across the country – help is far more limited and the potential for evictions far more widespread. According to the census bureau one-third of all the households in the country are behind on their rent or mortgage. The states with the highest percentage -- South Dakota followed by North Carolina, Georgia, Oregon, New Mexico, Wyoming, Ohio, Arizona, and louisiana.
For now Stacy Williams is just trying to stay positive and keep it all in perspective. Stacy Williams explained “as much as you want to give up - don't. Because even in the midst of all of this, I'm still going to hold onto faith and hope that ‘a way’ will be made out of ‘no way.’”searching for a way forward to home.
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