GREEN BAY (NBC26) — With the federal eviction moratorium set to expire on July 31st, local homeless shelters say they're preparing to see an increase in homelessness.
"Certainly that protection was there and now that that protection will be lifted, we're definitely anticipating that will increase the amount of homeless guests in our community," said Matt Kadlec, the associate executive director of St. John's Homeless Shelter.
The moratorium, which was put in place by the CDC in 2020, is aimed at preventing the eviction of tenants who are unable to make rent payments due to the pandemic. Now that it's about to expire at the end of the month, many fear they may soon face eviction.
A report from QuoteWizard found that 24% of Wisconsin residents are worried they will lose their homes in the next two months.
Kadlec says the shelter is already receiving calls about evictions before the moratorium has even expired.
"We're feeling more phone calls. Just this past week there's been about three phone calls already coming in about the eviction," Kadlec said.
He estimates the amount of rent debt that has been accumulated over the course of the pandemic will be overwhelming for many, causing more people to soon face eviction.
"With the amount of debt that's been incurred through the eviction moratorium, we're definitely anticipating people to not be able to make that up and ultimately face eviction," Kadlec said.
In addition, he says he's noticed an affordable housing shortage in the area. He believes the shortage will make it even more difficult for low-income people to find other housing if evicted.
"There's a shortage of affordable units, about 10,000 in our community, so we do have an affordable housing crisis," Kadlec said. "On the flip side of the eviction moratorium, are landlords going to be able to recover money? Is that going to put them out? So you might see affordable housing go away as well."
But shelters say they want tenants to know help is available. Freedom House Ministries is preparing for the end of the moratorium by spreading the word about renters assistance programs.
"Our shelter is available to take phone calls 24/7 and speak with families and refer them to resources that are available to try to help them immediately,” said Jessica Diederich, the president of Freedom House.
There are several state and federal programs for those facing eviction. The Wisconsin Emergency Rental Assistance Program can assist with up to twelve months of current and overdue bills.
Shelters say those struggling to pay rent should apply to programs as soon as possible before the July 31st expiration date.
"If you have loss of income or just find yourself in a situation financially to where you’re not able to pay your rent and you think you could potentially be evicted, there are rental assistance programs so that you can stay on track and you don’t lose your apartment or the house that you’re renting,” Diederich said.