The moratorium on evictions and foreclosures is set to end Monday night.By Chris Hoffman

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Monday night the moratorium preventing evictions comes to an end, impacting thousands of Pennsylvanians. This morning dozens gathered to protest what they feel could become a housing catastrophe.

The fear for protesters is if there is no legislative action, there could be a crisis of evictions and homelessness. Protesters want to see the moratorium extended for at least a few more months.

“We don’t even know why we’re talking about eviction. We don’t even understand why eviction and ending the eviction moratorium at a time like this,” organizer Celeste Scott said.

Around 10:30 Monday morning dozens gathered to protest for an extension of the eviction moratorium for not only Allegheny county but across the state. They started in a shopping center on Centre Avenue in the Hill District before going to the county courthouse, jail and then the Greenfield Bridge.

“Folks are in dire straits. They were already in dire straits because of the housing crisis before, and now you’re adding a pandemic on top of all of those things,” Scott said.

Scott feels people deserve a safe and secure place to live. Protesters said if leaders want to prevent the spread of the virus, they must allow people to stay in their homes.

“We understand that landlords need to be paid. We understand that, but we also know that the burden of eviction falls heavily on the renter,” she said at the Hill District shopping center.

Scott said if nothing is done, thousands of people could be forced out of their homes, and she went on to say people of color will be disproportionately impacted by the evictions.

“Especially women and mothers, children, are the people that will suffer the most. We’re not going to let it happen,” she told KDKA before the protest.

RELATED STORIES:

If you need help with your rent situation, programs like the URA’s Housing Stabilization Program in Pittsburgh and ACTION-Housing in Allegheny County can help. You can also apply for rental assistance in Allegheny County. All surrounding counties have similar programs.

Meanwhile, a new court order in Allegheny County could postpone hearings for tenants unable to pay rent.

According to the Allegheny County court order, if a tenant unable to pay rent says they have or are going to submit an application for rental assistance, the initial hearing will be used as a status conference instead.

If the decision is made to move forward with applying for rental assistance, a hearing can’t be scheduled until the application has either been granted, denied or withdrawn.

Gov. Tom Wolf also hinted that he’ll reverse himself and extend the moratorium. This comes after he called on lawmakers to pass legislation to extend it, saying he doesn’t have the legal authority.