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Record Number of AR Evictions Expected If Moratorium Isn’t Extended

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Last fall the Arkansas Legislature approved $10 million in CARES money for rent assistance, but demand continues to skyrocket. (Adobe Stock)
Last fall the Arkansas Legislature approved $10 million in CARES money for rent assistance, but demand continues to skyrocket. (Adobe Stock)
January 11, 2021

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Under the latest stimulus package passed by Congress, renters in Arkansas are protected from eviction until January 31. However, those protections aren't automatic - tenants still must sign the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's declaration form on the agency's website and give it to their landlord.

Beau Cromartie, communications manager with the group Southern Vision Alliance, noted the moratorium extension ends in just a few weeks during the coldest months of the year, and as COVID-19 cases continue to climb.

"We're asking for an extension on the moratorium until the end of the pandemic," Cromartie said. "Nobody can shelter in place or stay at home if they don't have a place to stay in."

They added in Arkansas, Gov. Asa Hutchinson has banned utility shutoffs during the pandemic, meaning companies cannot disconnect customers for late or unpaid bills.

For housing assistance or legal help, residents can contact the Arkansas Community Action Agencies Association at 501-372-0807 or call 211.

A U.S. Census Pulse Survey found more than 425,000 Arkansans are behind on rent. Roughly half said they have zero confidence they can pay next month's rent.

Cromartie said when rental assistance disappears and eviction protections expire, the state could see an unprecedented spike in its transient and homeless population.

"A lot of tenants are unaware, because landlords are not required to tell their tenants that evictions are not allowed right now," they said.

Cromartie added the moratorium has helped tenants in court, especially those who delivered the declaration to their landlords before or at the beginning of the eviction process.

Nadia Ramlagan, Public News Service - AR