Eviction moratorium to end Saturday, MaineHousing increases rental assistance eligibility

By the end of March, over six million American households were behind on rent.
Published: Jul. 30, 2021 at 4:42 PM EDT
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BANGOR, Maine (WABI) - The Biden Administration says its hands are tied after the Supreme Court signaled the federal eviction moratorium would expire Saturday.

“For people who were evicted for nonpayment of rent, it allowed them to have a chance to apply for rental assistance through the MaineHousing programs and gave them time to have their applications reviewed and landlords be granted assistance,” said Kate McGovern, an attorney with Pine Tree Legal Assistance.

According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, by the end of March, over six million American households were behind on rent.

McGovern says those trends are no different in Maine.

“We have been quite busy with eviction cases thought this period of time, in particular the last few months though it’s hard to anticipate how those numbers will change. We find that it’s harder and harder to find new places to live,” McGovern said.

In response to the expiration of the moratorium, MaineHousing will expand eligibility for their emergency rental assistance program.

Starting Monday August 2nd, eligibility will shift from having financial difficulty because of the pandemic to during the pandemic.

Households can also receive assistance for 18 months instead of 15.

“This program will help pay past rent, it will help pay rent three months in advance, and anyone who is in a legal situation with their landlord, there is a solution,” said Daniel Brennan, director of MaineHousing.

Brennan says anyone who previously applied for renters assistance and was not eligible does not need to re-apply.

The House did introduce a bill Thursday to try and extend the federal moratorium, but the prospect of a legislative solution remains unclear.

“It’s important that tenants know what their rights are,” McGovern said.

“Sometimes people feel that, ‘I’m not going to apply because I can get by, and there’s somebody else who needs the help.’ Well we have enough resources to help everyone who needs it,” Brennan said.

To apply for rental assistance you can visit the MaineHousing website.

For legal assistance you can visit the Pine Tree Legal Assistance website.

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