Housing officials worry about a wave of evictions as NJ continues to struggle with COVID-19

Aired August 17, 2020

It will soon be one month since the moratorium on eviction notices in New Jersey has expired.

As expected, housing officials say that they are already seeing what they are calling a tsunami of evictions across the state – something they say could be detrimental during the pandemic.

“You cannot shelter in place if you do not have a home,” says Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey VP & COO Sharon Barker. “You cannot keep your children safe, keep them well. You’ve got education that has to happen for your children.”

The federal moratorium on evictions expired on July 24. A recent survey done by the New Jersey Housing and Community Development Network found that more than 450,000 households said they were unsure of how they were going to pay next month's rent. So far, the state has implemented three programs to help renters and landlords. But officials say that it will only go so far without federal help.

“It just makes logical sense to address this with additional funds and to get the other funds coming through from the federal government and the HEROES Act and get that money back to the states that have been really hit so hard,” Barker says.

The HEROES Act is the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act. It gives $100 billion in federal money toward rental assistance and starts a national moratorium on evictions and foreclosures. It now awaits U.S. Senate approval. Barker says that she is having trouble staying optimistic that it will pass.

“Let’s face it, the majority of people who need this help right now are not the wealthiest and we need to get that money out there to get people fed and keep them houses and make sure that people are safe,” she says.

Members of the Housing and Community Development Network says that they will continue the ongoing discussion with members of Congress as well as Sens. Cory Booker and Bob Menendez later this month. They will also speak with members of the State Legislature on Sept. 15 about the issue.