ORLANDO, Fla. – One week after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the CDC’s moratorium on evictions, Central Florida legal assistance organizations have seen an uptick in calls for help.
“For a while, we had that little golden ticket. We had the CDC moratorium. That’s your ticket out,” said Jeffrey Hussey, Director of Public Interest and Litigation at Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida. “It’s gone.”
Hussey said his organization received 1,300 calls for eviction help in August, and they’re on pace to surpass that number in September now that evictions are free to move forward in court.
On Aug. 26, U.S. Supreme Court justices overturned the national pause on evictions implemented by the CDC.
Justices ruled the agency overstepped its authority.
News 6 investigated and found the number of pending evictions in Central Florida has nearly doubled since February.
According to numbers provided by Clerks of Court in the region’s nine counties, there are 6,192 open and active eviction cases.
Nearly 2,500 are located in Orange County, with Brevard County coming in next with 971 pending cases since March of 2020.
Hussey said all of them are at risk of losing their homes very soon.
“My fear is that, given the number of people who are behind in the rent and are subject to eviction, that we’re going to have an extremely large number of people without a place to live. Homelessness,” Hussey said. “Shelters can only handle so much.”
Joseph Gleason told News 6 he waits each day for Orange County sheriff’s deputies to show up at his door to evict him from the apartment that he and his late wife Yllian shared for nine years.
His bags were packed and boxes were stacked, and he was ready to move.
“As much as I can be sir,” he said.
Supreme Court justices ruled it would be up to the U.S. Congress to come up with any kind of moratorium on evictions moving forward.
Two pieces of legislation are now making their way through committees in the U.S. House and U.S. Senate.
Rep. Val Demings, D-Florida, is sponsoring the House version.
Rep. Darren Soto, D-Florida, told News 6 he was hoping to add an eviction moratorium to the president’s infrastructure bill.
Meantime, Hussey said residents who were late on their rent payments or facing eviction needed to talk with their landlord about their situation, apply for rental assistance and make arrangements in case you need to relocate.
The U.S. Treasury Department has organized a list of agencies providing rental assistance. Click here to find out more.