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Millions behind on rent as federal government extends eviction moratorium for final time

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MADISON (WKOW) -- More than seven million households in the U.S. are behind on rent, including more than 67,000 in Wisconsin. Those people will be able to stay in their homes for at least another month because the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention extended the federal eviction moratorium until July 31.

"It's always destabilizing to have a family evicted, but there's still money out there that's still being distributed that can keep people safe and communities stable," Mitch, an expert on rental housing law and clinical law professor at the University of Madison School of Law, said. "So, an extension was a smart move."

Data from the U.S. Census Bureau's Household Pulse Survey shows around five million people, including more than 81,000 households in Wisconsin, have no confidence they'll be able to make their rent payment next month.

The moratorium bans landlords from evicting renters simply for not paying rent. However, the federal government said the most recent extension will be the last, and the eviction protection will expire on July 31.

"The one thing that we know is that there will be more evictions filed," Mitch said.

He said evictions that happen after the moratorium ends will have ripple effects throughout communities.

"You might not rent, but you probably work with people, your kids go to school with people who do rent," he said. "When they fall out, they can't make the workforce, their kids aren't making it to school, it really does impact the community."

Mitch said there is help available for renters who are behind on their payments, but he said getting that money to the people who need it isn't always a quick process.

"The realization has been again and again that there's aid, federal dollars, state dollars that have been allocated that's making its way to people," he said. "But it hasn't all been received."

He said he's hopeful renters will get the money over the next month so they're able to catch up on rent payments before the moratorium expires.

"It would just be great if the aid was sufficient to keep people in their housing and all distributed to keep people in their housing," he said. "That would be better than another extension."

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Caroline Dade

Weekend Evening Anchor/Reporter, 27 News

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