Weber Co. Housing advocates worry CDC’s federal moratorium could lead to homeless crisis

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OGDEN, UTAH (ABC4 News) – Housing advocates in Weber County tell ABC4 News, a housing crisis is imminent, even after the CDC issued another temporary halt of evictions, for anyone affected by COVID-19. That moratorium will last through December.

Housing leaders in Weber County say the federal moratorium issued by the CDC is just a temporary fix to a larger issue, that could lead to an overflow of people without a place to live.

Jenny Gnagey, housing advocate and economics professor at Weber State University is collecting data on weekly evictions in Weber County.

“The overall trend, despite the ups and downs, since May 15 has been upward,” said Gnagey.

The latest moratorium put in place from September 4th through December is to prevent landlords from evicting tenants who have suffered financially during the pandemic. They qualify as long as they are making efforts to apply for assistance programs and come up with rent money.

“Starting Friday, we might be kicking the can further down the road and I think it remains to be seen when all is said and done after all these moratoriums live and expire at some point, there will be an end, and will we see a big flood of evictions?” said Gnagey.

Weber County housing leaders say the previous moratoriums issued have been effective, but the concern is a homeless crisis once it expires.

“The tenants are expected to pay at the end of the moratorium, and if they are not paid in full at the end of the moratorium and they haven’t entered into a repayment plan with their landlord, then they can potentially be evicted,” said Gnagey.

“We’ve had lots of prevention calls saying, ‘what can I do? Where can I go? To get rental assistance so I’m not evicted’,” said Andi Beadles, the Executive Director of the Weber County Housing Authority.

Leaders from the Ogden-Weber Community Action Partnership, or OWCAP, say around 150 people are calling weekly, asking for rental assistance.

“It’s just so critical that people are aware of the resources, just so they know what they qualify for and that there is help available,” said Beadles.

Beadles says there are also funds available for residents who may not have been directly affected by the pandemic but still need rental assistance. OWCAP has been awarded just over one million dollars to provide rental help for those affected by COVID-19 in Weber County.

“It’s so much easier to prevent the spread of COVID-19 when someone is stability housed, versus in the homeless shelter, on the streets, or doubled up with another family,” said Beadles.

OWCAP has issued over 400 checks, served 225 households, and spent around 430,000 dollars to help residents in the community pay rent and utilities.

More information and relevant links:

Form for tenants to fill out to be eligible for the new CDC eviction moratorium: https://form.jotform.com/202448923542052

It was created by Utah Legal Services and Peoples’ Legal Aid. Residents can complete on their phone and email to landlords if needed.

Information on the draft of the new order: https://www.federalregister.gov/public-inspection/current

OWCAP’s online application portal for rent assistance: https://s13.cap60.com/kioskv3/Home/SetDBName/capOWCAPut

Jenny Gnagey says Weber County residents who may need assistance can contact her directly at jennifergnagey@weber.edu

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