EAU CLAIRE, Wisc. (WLAX) — Since September of last year, an eviction moratorium has prevented landlords from evicting tenants; however, that federal order expired Saturday.
What resources are available for area renters now facing eviction? WiProud.com spoke with representatives of the Western Dairyland Economic Opportunity Council in Eau Claire to find out.
“A lot of people are hurting, a lot of people need help,” communications director Dale Karls said. “Since the pandemic began the phones have been ringing non-stop.”
Karls has seen first hand the financial challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. He said he fears many more will need help now that the eviction moratorium has expired.
“It is a lot harder to get a job when you’re evicted; it’s a lot harder to keep a job when you’re evicted,” he said. “Then you’re looking at the extended family as well–children, grandparents, all the other people in these extended families.”
Karls said he wants renters to know assistance is available. Western Dairyland EOC has been helping people pay rent through the Wisconsin Emergency Rental Assistance program.
“It has been a lifeline for so many families in our service area to keep them in their homes,” he said.
That lifeline has helped to cover $2.4 million in rent, internet and utility bills for about 650 families.
“And the weird thing is, I know we haven’t reached everyone who needs help, Karls noted, adding that WERA will be a vital program now that the moratorium has ended.
Some area landlords, such as John Moss of General Property Management, credit programs like the ones provided by Western Dairyland EOC for helping them get by during the pandemic.
“We sure did watch it and kinda, maybe sweated about it, but it all worked out fine in the end,” he said. “We didn’t raise our rents for the most part through the whole pandemic. I had talked to some lenders as well, and it seemed like if we were in a pinch they would also be willing to maybe work with us as well. We were kind of all in it together.”
With the end of the moratorium, there are concerns homelessness in the region will worsen. That is why Karls said anyone who cannot pay rent should call Western Dairyland at 715-836-7511. He noted money for rental assistance is still available, and it is easy to fill out an application.