According to the latest survey by the U.S. Census Bureau, an estimated 400,000 households in North Carolina have no confidence that they can pay the next month’s rent. While thousands of North Carolina residents have been approved for rental assistance programs, money can take multiple months to be disbursed—if at all.
Meanwhile, judges and sheriffs have largely ignored the consequences of evicting families as the COVID-19 pandemic surges. And the NC General Assembly has more than enough revenue to pay off all the past-due rent for North Carolina families impacted by COVID-19, just as California did. Still, the Assembly has continued to allow tenants to be evicted.
As the statewide Stop Evictions Network, we make the following demands of NC Governor Roy Cooper, the NC General Assembly, and local officials:
- An immediate statewide eviction moratorium
- A full-scale, in-depth audit into each city’s rental assistance program to determine why fund dispersal is not meeting demand in a timely manner
- Rent forgiveness and credit relief for those impacted by COVID-19
- Increased capacity to rental assistance and legal aid programs
This crisis is an economic and racial justice issue. A Charlotte Journalism Collaborative examination of nearly 700 eviction cases from October 2020 to March 2021 found evictions during the pandemic most often occurred in ZIP codes with higher rates of poverty, higher Black populations, and less housing investment than the county overall. Across the state, 58% of Black households rent compared to 27% of white households. Black women are twice as likely to be evicted as white renters.