Thousands facing evictions in Florida as state lifts protections

Hillsborough County

TAMPA (WFLA) – A moratorium on evections in the state of Florida that expired on Thursday is having a real impact on people like Hassid Owens who lost his job at Raymond James Stadium as a result of the pandemic.

Owens was laid off in March and evicted when he couldn’t pay rent.

“I had to take like everything we had to pawn things. We are in a hotel, this is where we are now. So, I don’t know if we are protected or we are not protected,” said Owens.

At Metropolitan Ministries in Tampa, they are expecting a surge of people like Owens in need of help.

“So many people are struggling on the verge of evections because of recent job losses and it is really impacting their entire lives, their ability to get food, their ability to take care of their families and of course their mental health and stability across the board,” said Christine Long with Metropolitan Ministries.

She advises people to do everything they can to avoid eviction.

“The main thing we are encouraging people to do is to do everything they can right now to avoid getting evicted because the last thing they want to do is become homeless and have to come to metropolitan for shelter and those type of services, so communicating with their landlords, trying to negotiate ways to extend their ability to pay, obviously getting out there and finding a new job as quickly as possible and we have some help with that,” said Long.

Organize Florida is another group that helps people facing eviction.

“It is devastating. Hillsborough County has a real issue with affordable housing, low-income housing,” said Robin Lockett with Organize Florida who also points out there is help available right now for people facing eviction. “Hillsborough County has a program called R-3 that they are looking to give money away, they say they have to get rid of this money by December the 31st, so they are looking to give this money away. It’s up to five months of rental assistance,” said Lockett.

Those looking for additional help can find more information here on Tampa Bay area county programs.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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