Earlier this week the CDC extended the eviction moratorium from May 31 to June 30 due to the ongoing pandemic.
The eviction moratorium was put in place by the CDC to help slow the spread of COVID-19 in congregated settings such as homeless shelters, according to a notice sent out by the center. The CDC says homeless shelters may not be able to “provide adequate social distancing as populations increase.”
The extension comes as residents in communities across the country are still struggling to pay their rent, and the Park City area is no exception.
The Christian Center of Park City offered financial support to more than 1,400 people since the start of the pandemic. Executive Director of the center Rob Harter said while they were initially focused on rent, they soon realized needs were not limited only to housing security.
"We gave a bunch of money out, and it got to the point where, because the eviction moratorium was put in place, we realized that for some people, the rent was no longer the number one need," Harter said. "And so we want to just make sure, what is your need? Is it a car repair, Sadly, the Latinx community was disproportionately impacted by COVID, and so medical bills. And they kind of had this misunderstand that rent was the only thing we're giving, because that was the primary thing."
The Christian Center gave out more than $1.3 million last year.
Even with more sectors of the economy reopening, Harter said many people are still facing financial hardship. This year the center has given out $166,000. And he said since January, they have seen an increase in need every month.
"And so it seems like again, this is anecdotal, but it seems like a lot of people were feeling more caught up on things on their bills, the first of the year," he said. "Maybe they were promised a little bit more work, and they were not able to get the work they thought they were going to get. So it does still seem like people are not getting full time 40 hours a week, and having to instead kind of cobble together a couple of different jobs. So my guess is now the realize, 'no, I still have a lot of needs.'"
The moratorium offers protections as renters still facing financial burdens brought on by the pandemic. But when it ends in July, renters will have to pay back any overdue rent.
Even though the moratorium is only a temporary fix, Harter said overall it has benefited the community.
"There's still some landlords that, you know, if there wasn't a moratorium, I think they would move forward with evictions," he said. "And as much as we would try to help, some families have such a deep hole, that even the money that we've been giving would not be enough. And so the fact that they had this moratorium, what's nice about that is, it was one less stressor. And so I think that's been a good thing overall."
Every year the Christian Center hands out Easter baskets to the community. Harter said they have used the opportunity this year to continue their outreach to the community to find more families in need of assistance.
He said they have also put educational pamphlets on vaccines in each basket to help bridge any gaps in vaccine disparities in minority communities.