CDC eviction moratorium set to end, City of Hot Springs expected to run out of rental assistance

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s eviction moratorium is set to expire this month, leaving thousands of Arkansans at risk of being homeless. The city of Hot Springs is providing funding to help those in need, but it is expected to run out by the end of the week.

Day in and day out, Ouachita Behavioral Health and Wellness Rental and Utility Case Manager Loren Eitel-Morphew sifts through the stack of more than 200 applications on her desk.

“I have about $7,000 in rent left and I think I calculated about $11,000 in utilities as of this morning,” Eitel-Morphew said.

She is in charge of distributing those funds from the city of Hot Springs to help people impacted by the pandemic.

“How COVID directly affected their income, their ability to work, things like that and it’s just one heartbreak after another,” Eitel-Morphew said.

As the clock ticks down on the eviction moratorium, that dollar amount gets closer and closer to zero.

“Probably the end of this week,” Eitel-Morphew said.

Right now, she is putting the most extreme cases at the top of her list.

“Where they’re going to be homeless real soon, they have an elderly population in the household or some sort of disability or with children. It’s basically like triage. What’s the most important thing right now,” Eitel-Morphew said.

While she and her tenants are racing against the clock, those on the other side of it like Hilarie Dzianott say they have bills to pay too.

“We still have to keep houses fixed and in repair, we still have to pay taxes and insurance and so we just scramble and do the best we can,” Dzianott said.

As a landlord, she said some tenants are good about paying when they can, but others are not.

“We see the boxes, we see the TVs we see the cars and I don’t understand why they’re doing that and not paying rent,” Dzianott said.

Now she just hopes as the moratorium comes to an end, her tenants will come up with the cash before she has to make the decision to evict.

“We just have to suck it up and hope we all get through it,” Dzianott said.

If you still need assistance, the Department of Human Services has funds available. Click HERE to apply.

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