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"A huge threat to our community" | Evictions could leave hundreds homeless

Evictions had been put on hold in the North Carolina, but that order expires on Monday.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Unemployment numbers continue to rise as the coronavirus has a crippling effect on workers. The Department of Labor reports another 2.1 million people filed for benefits last week. Since the start of the pandemic, nearly 41 million people have filed for unemployment.

In North Carolina, more than 1 million claims have been filed since March 15. According to a new Wallet Hub study, the tar heel state has seen the 7th biggest increase in unemployment claims in the country.

The first of the month is coming up fast and it brings another round of rent and bills many people will struggle to pay during the coronavirus pandemic.

"My feelings are all over the place and June first is just another thing that adds to it,” a Charlotte woman told WCNC Charlotte in an anonymous interview. “It's been challenging daily and the uncertainty is something that is unsettling and difficult to cope with."

She’s concerned she’ll be evicted next week. Evictions had been put on hold in the state, but that order expires on Monday.

Those with Action NC are concerned thousands of people could end up on the streets.

RELATED: Nearly 41 million workers filed for unemployment since coronavirus hit

RELATED: Charlotte housing taskforce worries about evictions post-crisis

"This is the reality that we're dealing with. Thousands of people have been out of work, laid off, fired. It's going to take time for people to get back on their feet and, the rent is still due,” says Jessica Moreno, a housing justice organizer with Action NC.

She says the people she works with are scared.

“We expect a huge number of people, an unprecedented amount of people facing homelessness and eviction. We see that as a huge threat to our community,” says Moreno.

Tenants have rights and the only way they can get evicted is through a court proceeding. Moreno urges people not to leave their homes unless it is from a court order.

“If their locks are changed or if they're sent a letter that says they have to be out by this date, if it’s not coming from the court, don't leave,” she says. She advises tenants to go to court and explain the circumstances to the judge.

Action NC has a hotline to help tenants that need some guidance. If you need help, call: (704-284-7154)

The head of the North Carolina unemployment system was replaced this week. The department has been inundated with calls and people are still struggling to get benefits.

“I want to make sure those benefits get into the hands of people as quickly as possible. Not only to help those families hang on, but to help the economy in general,” Governor Roy Cooper said at his press conference on Thursday.

He also announced the state has received a $6 million federal grant to help some of the people who lost jobs because of the pandemic get job training.

RELATED: City of Charlotte COVID-19 mortgage & rent relief

RELATED: They're having trouble making ends meet and now the state wants $23,000 back in 4 months

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