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With the national eviction ban expiring today, Leopold expects he and his wife, Vivia, and their six young children, will be forced out of their home in Deerfield Beach, Florida, where they’ve lived for the past three years.
They’re one of millions of families in America that are still behind on rent, and could be at risk of homelessness when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s eviction moratorium lifts at midnight.
“I’m shaking just thinking about,” Leopold, 50, said.
Leopold, who asked to use his first name only because of the stigma attached to evictions, said the pandemic set him back in more ways than he can count.
He lost his job as a bartender at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, and had to figure out how to help his children learn remotely. Soon, Vivia also lost her accounting job.
Their rental debt has swollen to $20,000.
He’s trying to get back on his feet, but time is running out.
He applied for rental assistance but his landlord refused to cooperate with the program, a common problem. He asked the organization he’d applied to if he could get the money directly to secure new housing, but he hasn’t heard back yet.
“The moratorium is running out before the funds are getting out,” he said.