Families struggle to pay bills during coronavirus pandemic

National / World

CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. (NewsNation Now) — Families across the country are suffering because they are out of work and don’t have money to pay their bills.

An estimated 30 to 40 million Americans could be at risk of eviction in the next several months, according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a moratorium on evictions, but landlords in some states have found ways to bypass it.

The situation in one Coral Springs, Florida neighborhood is especially unique. 3,000 residents in the Ramblewood East neighborhood all faced having their water shut off.

Alyssa Ippolito lives in the neighborhood with her three children.

She lost her job as a restaurant cook in April, and has fallen more than $5,000 behind on rent.

Then, she learned her water could be cut off.

“I won’t be able to make food. Can’t flush the toilet. Can’t shower. I mean, I can’t even imagine. I don’t know what I would do. I have nowhere else to go,” Ippolito said.

According to Florida State Rep. Dan Daley (D), about 25% of the residents in the neighborhood are behind on rent and association dues because of the pandemic.

Daley said the neighborhood association could not pay the water bill for the entire complex.

He negotiated with the private water company involved and got the neighborhood a two-week extension at the last minute.

“It would have been shut off today… in the middle of a pandemic, people are supposed to be washing their hands and being sanitary and hygienic. You’re going to cut out water? You’re going to cut out the most basic necessity,” Rep. Daley said.

The eviction and utility crisis is impacting Americans from coast to coast.

The stimulus talks at the federal level have stalled, and states are forced to come up with plans on their own.

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) set aside $4.2 million this month to help struggling families with rent.

“To be able to make their rent payment, that helps the tenant, it helps the landlord, it helps the mortgage be paid,” Hutchinson said.

The situation has also been hard on landlords like Myeisha Wright in Kansas City, Missouri.

She has spent months trying to evict one of her tenants after she says he had the money to pay rent but used the pandemic as an excuse not to.

“A brand new car was here. When we pulled out stuff, we found furniture, newer things, that kind of stuff,” Wright said.

Wright said some landlords are being taken advantage of.

“Whether CDC or COVID, these people were already behind or already had issues in paying and keeping up regularly for this,” Wright said.

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