Arkansas residents face uncertain times regarding eviction during pandemic

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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — As the US surpassed three million confirmed
COVID-19 cases, American lives aren’t just threatened, but also their homes.

Angela Belford is the Executive Director at the Fayetteville Housing Authority, the public
agency that helps low to moderate-income families. Belford is in the profession to help people,
but she knows what it’s like to not have a home.

When Belford was 14-years-old, her family was evicted.

“The day we got evicted and our station wagon repossessed, I mean the feeling of the rug being
ripped right out from under you is something that is traumatizing and difficult to get over,”
Belford said.

The Arkansas Supreme Court ordered a ban on evictions for nonpayment of rent at certain
federally backed properties until July 25, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the Aspen Institute, one in five of the 110 million Americans who are renting housing are at risk of eviction by the end of September.

“Things like COVID-19 didn’t create housing insecurity, they just exacerbated it, they just
brought it to the forefront of everyone, and I hope that we can use COVID-19 as an opportunity
to make the systems level changes that we need to,” Belford said.

Corianne Scally is a Principle Research Associate at the Urban Institute. Scally said if we don’t
see those benefits extended into the future, we will see a more negative impact over the long
term as those benefits run out or expire.

“We know that about twice as many renters right now are experiencing cost burden, which
means that they are paying more than 30% of their income towards rent, than prior to the
pandemic,” Scally said.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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