Coronavirus: Middle-income renters may see crisis once eviction moratorium is lifted

A financial crisis is brewing for renters when the eviction moratorium is lifted, and according to a national non-profit in the residential rental business, it will strike people who had always been responsible bill payers.
A financial crisis is brewing for renters when the eviction moratorium is lifted, and according to a national non-profit in the residential rental business, it will strike people who had always been responsible bill payers.

"I incurred medical expenses and it sucked up all my savings," said Army veteran Steven Rogers, who suffered disabling back injuries as a Vietnam-era paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne Division. A heart surgery and caring for his mother left him no money for rent.

According to the Residential Relief Foundation, Rogers reflects a growing number of renters who fall into a gap. They are not at a poverty level that would make them eligible for aid, but they have no savings for emergencies like as job loss.

"More people pay 50% to 60% of their income for rent, which is why when they are back to work, there is still going to be a tremendous need," said the foundation's executive director, Tina Oswald. "They are still going to have a car payment, they are still going to have childcare. They will still have regular bills to take care of."

The foundation is a national collection of property managers, owners and charities focused on helping responsible tenants with grants and tutoring in financial skills.

There is such a high demand currently that the foundation is in need of support from donors.

There were 400 tenant applications in the two years before March 16 and 2,000 in the last six weeks.

Donors and applicants can find information at residentrelieffoundation.org.

Rogers had been four days away from eviction when he received a grant.

"Matter of fact, I cried when provided me the grant money," he said.

Oswald said the grants coupled with an education in managing personal finances is life-changing for troubled tenants.

"If we can help somebody avoid eviction, avoid homelessness, we want to do that," Oswald said.
Copyright © 2020 KABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.