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Housing Advocates Have "Mixed Emotions" Day After DeSantis Extends Eviction Moratorium

Photo: Tom Rumble
Photo: Tom Rumble

Heart of Florida United Way CEO Jeff Hayward has mixed emotions Wednesday after Gov. Ron DeSantis extended the housing moratorium for a month. 

Hayward says the new August 1 deadline gives families more time to pay rent, but it only temporarily delays what he calls an "eviction crisis". 

He says a U.S. Census Bureau survey found more than a third of Floridians said they struggled to pay rent last month or this month. 

“So our court system when it comes to eviction is a pay-to-play state. So if you get a notice to quit from your landlord you get a three-day notice you have five days to respond. But in order to file that response with the court, you have to pay all of the back rent that’s in question.”

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Hayward says he’d like the government, nonprofit and business sectors to come up with short- and long-term solutions to the housing crisis instead.

He says with the rent-meter ticking, tenants and landlords still stand to lose when the deadline hits and five months rent comes due.

“Then that small mom-and-pop landlord gets stuck holding a bill and that’s not fair for them and it destabilizes their housing situation because they may be facing foreclosure at that point.”

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Hayward says he’s worried about a rise in homelessness as the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics ranks Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford third for unemployment in metro areas across the country.

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Danielle Prieur is a general assignment reporter and fill-in host at WMFE.