PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — For the first time since the coronavirus pandemic started, thousands of renters across Pennsylvania woke up Tuesday wondering what will happen now that the moratorium on evictions has ended.
Rent is due and, and residents who lost jobs because of the pandemic are sill struggling. Listen Live Now on KYW
Gail Campbell of West Philadelphia has missed sending in a couple of rent checks, and she knows firsthand she will have a whole lot of company.
“They will have sleepless nights. They will have nightmares, which I deal with now. They will wake up and think they are already in the street,” she said.
Gov. Tom Wolf says he might take action by executive order, but he says state lawmakers should take up the issue now.
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He’d like to see the state legislature allocate about $100 million to prevent evictions and about another $100 million to stop utility shutoffs. But if lawmakers follow House and Senate rules, that’s not likely to happen until next week as the earliest.
Asked Monday if he’s worried that resuming evictions could cause COVID-19 cases to rise, and if he stands by his decision to let the moratorium expire, Wolf said, “I am concerned, and no I don’t stand by.”
Asked if he planned to extend the moratorium, he said “not today.” He added, “You’ll have to wait and see.”
The Associated Press reports the Wolf administration is citing legal reasons for being unable to extend the moratorium by executive order.
Now that the moratorium has ended, residents who have already lost eviction hearings could be locked out of their homes as early as Sept. 8.
So time is of the essence for about 500 people in Philadelphia alone, according to Community Legal Services.
Eviction cases filed now won’t be heard until November. However, hearings for anyone who was previously notified of eviction will start on Thursday.
Wolf’s office has not yet responded to KYW Newsradio’s request for comment.