The whirlwind of wondering whether the moratorium was gone for good or coming back just added to the confusion.
"It's wrong for them to put me out like this for no reason," said a man named Rudy, a Raleigh renter in the midst of the desperate scene Tuesday morning outside the courthouse. He told his story on the Facebook livestream of the People's Budget Coalition NC, a group of community organizations advocating for health care, housing and workers. They were in downtown Raleigh connecting renters facing eviction in the pandemic with resources to help.
PBC says since the federal eviction moratorium expired last Saturday, more and more renters are coming downtown anxious and scared.
"People were receiving notices that they needed to go to the courthouse but didn't fully understand why. And they walked in and were served with eviction notices," said PBC organizer, Gayle Schwartzberg.
Hours after anxious Raleigh renters emerged from Wake Courthouse with eviction notices, President Biden and CDC reversed course and issued a new federal eviction moratorium. Now, a new scramble to inform renters and landlords of the millions of dollars available to help • AT 11 pic.twitter.com/achKy6Hh6e— Joel Brown (@JoelBrownABC11) August 4, 2021
Meanwhile at the White House, President Joe Biden was under pressure from his own party to act to renew the federal freeze on evictions.
"CDC will announce (a new moratorium) and the details of exactly how it works. I told them to take a look. I didn't tell them what they had to do," Biden said at a late afternoon news conference.
Minutes later, official word came from the CDC: a new moratorium on evictions will last until Oct. 3 for counties with "substantial" and "high levels" of virus transmission. That's almost every county in the ABC11 viewing area.
CDC issues new eviction ban for most of the United States through Oct. 3
Now, the focus turns back to getting renters relief. There's still millions in unspent federal money in the state's Housing Opportunities and Prevention of Eviction Program or the HOPE Program. But, too many people who need the cash still don't know it's there.
"They have had their cell phones and utilities turned off and can't seem to find anybody to help them and didn't know about resources like the HOPE program," said Schwartzberg.
Rental assistance programs serve as last lifeline as the eviction moratorium ends
"The money is there! We don't have to send it out. It's been sent out to the states and counties, billions of dollars," Biden said.
The HOPE Program application page is live right now. The NC Housing Coalition told ABC11, last week, initial challenges and delays with payments have been resolved and the program is currently taking about two weeks from application to rent payment.
There is also a portal for landlords with tenants who can't make rent. The program pays back rent and back utilities.