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Eviction moratorium extension only applies to those affected by coronavirus pandemic

Legal Aid Society seeks long-term solution with new program
Posted at 4:31 PM, Jul 30, 2020

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Another $1.4 million Americans filed for unemployment last week. While rent payments are due again this weekend, there was some relief after the governor halted evictions again.

"It was still nerve-wracking until last night, and I was overjoyed to hear what the governor has done," said Katrina Robinson of West Palm Beach.

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She was glad the moratorium on evictions in Florida was extended until Sept. 1.

Robinson, a laid-off paralegal, is waiting on county rent relief for her apartment.

However, the governor's order is different this time and only allows an eviction moratorium for those adversely affected by the pandemic.

"So, people who do not have some direct tie to COVID, they're nonpayment of rent is not directly tied to unemployment, reduction of hours or they lost child care when the schools closed, so they lost their ability to work full time, those are the people that the governor's order is targeting," said Tequisha Myles with the Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County.

New Program Launching to Help Renters Avoid Eviction

While some non-COVID-related evictions may now move forward, her office is focused on the day when all evictions will be remedied with a new program to help tenants.

A new program from the Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County is hoping to save hundreds of renters from facing eviction.

"Our goal is to try and work with tenants and landlords on the front end. Those who are behind on rent and have not been served, to try and negotiate with the landlord, get the tenant into a rental assistance program and get them on a payment plan everyone can live with," Myles said.

The Rapid Response Eviction Assistance Program is designed to stop evictions by negotiating with landlords.

"We want the landlord to get paid, the tenants have a place to live and so we got to get the parties to agree to something," Myles said.

It is estimated that there are 1,200 evictions waiting for the moratorium to be lifted in Palm Beach County.

The program at the Legal Aid Society will also offer help for those served with evictions.

"Once the moratorium ends, you will get served in a couple of days of the moratorium ending, and you will have five days to quickly do something about it," Myles said.