With mass unemployment on the rise, Florida, like other states, imposed a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures in place to prevent people from becoming homeless in the midst of a global pandemic. This moratorium ends on August 1st. Courts expect a tsunami of evictions and foreclosures, leaving no protections in place for many in our communities trying to make ends meet during these trying times.
So, we are at the precipice of an enormous eviction and housing crisis that will have societal consequences for the indefinite future. A rise in homelessness is a reality for thousands of people hard-pressed and struggling to keep food on the table and, more importantly, a roof over their heads. Absent the federal government stepping in and providing significant rental assistance, there is a legitimate concern about housing stability for a large swath of the country.
Legal aid offices across the state have been preparing for this major event and stand ready to help as many people as possible from being homeless overnight. The legal aid offices have a series of tools in their arsenal to assist and prevent as many evictions as possible. These include assisting with federal government grants to pay rental or utility bill arrears, free legal help, and rehousing. There are other programs that assist tenants, such as the use of a motel vouchers, mediation services to avoid evictions, and help with entering into a payment plans. Legal aid offices also have volunteer attorneys to assist with bankruptcy solutions where warranted. Given the proximity of the eviction tsunami, the BLS is calling its members for ALL HANDS ON DECK!! Please reach out to your local legal aid office and offer to help.