Tens of thousands of Alabamians are at risk of losing their homes after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) eviction moratorium on Aug. 27. This moratorium — the latest in a series at the state and federal level — would have allowed renters harmed by the COVID-19 recession more time to apply for and receive federal rental assistance funds through local agencies.
The moratorium’s end has increased the urgency for Alabama to ramp up distribution of that money. The state had distributed less than 3% of its federal rental assistance funds as of Aug. 30, according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC).
In Baldwin County, a COVID-19 hot spot, 86% of vetted applicants have been determined eligible for assistance. But only 5.8% of total applicants have received money. More than 1,000 households in that county alone now face eviction if their funds do not arrive before the eviction cases are heard. Removing the moratorium will fuel a harmful, avoidable increase in evictions leading into winter. This decision will put thousands of Alabamians at risk of homelessness or force people into already-crowded shelters while the delta variant rages through the state.
The full resumption of the eviction crisis magnifies the need for Gov. Kay Ivey to renew state-level eviction protections like those she instituted in April 2020. Alabama Arise also has asked courts to direct renters and landlords to available rental assistance when a landlord files for eviction. These steps could prevent many evictions even if Congress and state authorities continue their failure to protect renters.
Resources for immediate assistance
To seek help paying rent, check Arise’s rental assistance resource guide or the NLIHC’s website at nlihc.org/rental-assistance to find the local agency serving your area. If your landlord serves you an eviction notice, call Legal Services Alabama at 866-456-4995. If you become homeless due to eviction or another reason, call 2-1-1 for shelter referral and rehousing assistance.