Rent moratorium’s end could trigger ‘tidal wave’ of evictions

A nationwide eviction moratorium — enacted in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic — is scheduled to expire July 31.

Experts are concerned that a “tidal wave” of evictions could begin this summer as landlords seek to remove tenants who cannot afford rent.

“About $46 billion was allocated for rent relief, but a lot of folks in our area aren’t sure how to access it,” says Dr. T. Charles Howell IV, director of workforce development & financial coaching at Mon Valley Initiative.

“And although the economy is picking back up, we still have a high percentage of people in Allegheny, Washington and Westmoreland counties who are unemployed or under-employed,” he said.

A non-profit community development corporation, MVI has more than 20 years of experience helping unemployed residents connect with jobs and job-training programs.

During the pandemic, MVI’s employment & financial coaches pivoted to helping laid-off Mon Valley residents connect with COVID-19 emergency relief for rent, utilities, health care and more.

“What we’re telling folks is, don’t wait until you receive an eviction notice,” Howell says. “Call us today and let’s start working on your plan. You may be able to work with your landlord and you also may be eligible for financial support you don’t even know about.”

MVI also can help participants with finding a new or better job, planning a career path, budgeting for expenses or saving money to purchase a house.

“The motto of our workforce program is ‘Envision your dream, find your path, build your future,’” Howell says. “With the pandemic easing, our message to anyone out there who’s been struggling is, it’s time to start thinking about your future again.”

To speak to an employment & financial coach, call 412-464-4000, extension 4000 in Allegheny County, or 724-565-8040, extension 2, in the Mid-Mon Valley, Washington or Westmoreland counties.