PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — In less than two weeks, the statewide moratorium on evictions is set to expire.
Governor Tom Wolf extended the relief period to renters and homeowners as many people have lost jobs during the coronavirus pandemic. Experts say a tsunami of evictions may be on the horizon.
The looming eviction moratorium deadline on Aug. 31 in Pennsylvania has many worried. Many have rent due and extra unemployment benefits that have ended.
Artist Ian Altenbaugh teaches high schoolers how to make films.
“Because of the nature of my job, I wasn’t eligible for any sort of unemployment or anything,” said Altenbaugh.
Altenbaugh had to work with his landlord because he was worried that he wouldn’t have a place to live.
“You pick between paying rent, paying bills and eating. It’s like do I destroy my credit, do I starve?” Altenbaugh said.
The Bloomfield-Garfield Corporation is working to help individuals and families survive.
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“We’ve had over 100 families and individuals contact us in the last 90 days,” said Rick Swartz, executive director of the Bloomfield-Garfield Corporation.
The East End nonprofit also owns and manages rental housing. The corporation has seen how hard the community has been hit.
“We have one cluster of 19 homes where 10 of the 19 residents have lost their jobs,” Swartz told KDKA.
Swartz says there is still money available to help those falling behind.
“The state put together a $175 million pot. And as of last week, there have only been about 13,000 applications,” Swartz said.
The state money can also help landlords, like David Ogrodowski.
“The house is in forbearance, a kind of foreclosure, and we don’t know if we’re going to lose the house,” said Ogrodowski, who has also been out of work through the pandemic.
Ogrodowski is a landlord who says he needs the rent money his two properties provide but because of the moratorium, he cannot collect from one tenant.
“I don’t have an income, I’m unemployed,” Ogrodowski told KDKA.
There are three sources of funds available to help. The CARES Act is providing funds through the PA Housing Finance Agency.