Rental assistance remains available as eviction moratorium set to end Saturday

Published: Jul. 30, 2021 at 8:55 PM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - The CDC’s eviction moratorium is scheduled to expire Saturday leaving some renters scrambling.

The federal order has prevented landlords from evicting tenants who cannot pay rent since September of last year. It had already been extended to July 31 but a last minute push by congress to extend it again did not succeed.

“A lot of people are hurting, a lot of people need help,” said Dale Karls of Western Dairyland Economic Opportunity Council in Eau Claire. He has seen the financial challenges of the COVID-19 first hand and fears the moratorium ending could mean more people need help.

“It is a lot harder to get a job and keep a job when you are evicted. Then you have the extended family, the kids, the grandparents,” he said.

Karls said tenants should know rental assistance is still available. Western Dairyland has been helping people pay their rent with Wisconsin Emergency Rental Assistance (WERA), a federal program intended to help renters affected by the pandemic.

“It has been a lifeline for so many families in our service area to keep them in their homes,” he said.

Western Dairyland has been able to provide about $2.4 million in rent, internet and utility bills for about 650 families in its service area.

With the eviction moratorium ending, there are concerns it could worsen the region’s homelessness problem.

Jennifer Barrett, Homeless Services Director at the LE Phillips Outreach Office in Chippewa County said she is already seeing an increase in families looking for emergency shelter.

“This is difficult in Chippewa County as there is no homeless shelter. The family shelters in the surrounding counties are full with waiting lists. There is a lack of available and affordable housing in the area and most of the individuals who are being evicted with the moratorium will have a very difficult time finding a rental again,” Barrett said. “We are at a loss in Chippewa County as we do not know how we are going to support all the people who need it.”

Barrett is asking for the community’s help in donations of camping supplies like tents, sleeping bags, and cookware and monetary donations to buy nights in hotels.

Karls said renters who need help should get in touch with Western Dairyland immediately and he encouraged having conversation with landlords.

To apply for WERA or to get more information click here or call Western Dairyland at 715-836-7511.

Western Dairyland serves Eau Claire, Buffalo, Clark, Jackson and Trempealeau Counties. If you live outside those counties, WERA remains available through other agencies. Click here for more information.

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