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'Double-edged sword' | Eviction moratorium extension creating challenges for local programs

While the extension of the eviction moratorium aimed to help people avoid homelessness, it is causing some setbacks for organizations like the YWCA.

NORFOLK, Va. — The YWCA of South Hampton Roads helps many people find the resources they need in the community. However, many of their clients are victims of domestic violence, which puts them in a more difficult situation regarding the eviction moratorium.

The Biden Administration extended the nationwide pause on evictions with an exception. It only applies to areas with substantial or high COVID-19 transmission rates, which is the case for the seven cities across Hampton Roads. It's creating a sigh of relief for many renters and homeowners, but that's not the case for everyone.

Kristen Pine is the Chief Operating Officer for the YWCA's Norfolk Family Justice Center. She said when the eviction moratorium continued into the spring season, they ran into some challenges with their shelters filling up combined with the rental housing shortage. Last time 13News Now spoke to YWCA's Housing Manager, Darl Wilburn, he said his organization is seeing almost triple the number of people filling up their resources.

Author's Note: The video above is on file from July 5, 2021.

"We work with a lot of families in domestic violence situations, and evictions, and facing homelessness," said Kristen Pine. "What that meant was they were staying there for longer periods of time because there just wasn't any available housing."

Pine said even if the moratorium expires for some renters and homeowners, or expires altogether eventually, they'd still run into several challenges.

"The price of housing is so high, that even if they could find a unit, it really wouldn't be sustainable for them, anyway, because of current levels of wages. So, this is a worst-case scenario for us on many levels, unfortunately," said Pine. "This is kind of a double-edged sword for us, right?"

However, it's not just a double edge sword. Pine said with their clients being mainly victims of domestic violence, there are more problems at hand. She said with the stress of the evictions and the pandemic, she anticipates seeing a spike of victims seeking help in their shelters. She said this will only fill up their shelters more with the higher prices and continued limited availability.

She added that the YWCA is working with landlords to try to find more affordable options through the program. They are also exploring other options by speaking with the victims' families to try to find them temporary housing.