Community organizations work to address confusion as Biden administration extends eviction moratorium

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- The Biden administration put in place a targeted eviction moratorium this week, just days after the federal stop on evictions expired.

"The CDC eviction moratorium is really focused on those communities that are seeing their caseloads tick up and surges occurring," Sen. Tammy Baldwin told CBS 58 in an interview.

The extension targets counties with what the CDC defines as 'substantial' or 'high' community transmission of coronavirus. According to the CDC, that includes the entire southeastern Wisconsin region. While Congress failed to extend the moratorium, the Biden administration did so, albeit with concerns over legal challenges. But Sen. Baldwin believes the extension, which goes through Oct. 3, will stay in place.

"There's a belief that that will hold up in court because it's a more targeted moratorium," Baldwin said.

The pause and restart of the moratorium has caused confusion, adding to the already tumultuous situation for tenants and landlords during the pandemic.

"Not knowing if you're going to be able to say in your home is quite possibly the scariest thing that someone can go through," Deborah Heffner, Community Advocates' housing strategy director. "We see first-hand how stressed out a lot of tenants are we also see how stressed out a lot of landlords are."

Community Advocates has been at the center of trying to facilitate resources to tenants and property owners throughout the pandemic. Despite all the confusion over the stop and restart of the moratorium, the organization says resources remain constant.

"What has not changed is the availability of emergency rental assistance," Heffner said.

While there are resources, there are still hurdles.

"Where there can be a challenge is that there is somewhat a disconnect between the criteria for the moratorium and the criteria to qualify for the funding," Amy Koltz, the executive director of Mediate Milwaukee said.

The organization said tenants and landlords have been choosing to go through mediation more often rather than go through the expensive and stressful eviction process immediately.

"Our 2019 monthly request rate at this point it's now quadrupled since then," Koltz said.

Koltz said the extension helps people buy time but expects the eventual expiration will bring an influx of cases.

"We're optimistic that we will be able to help more people but on the other hand, I know that those two months are going to go quickly," Koltz said.

Tenants or property owners seeking resources can find relevant information

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