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As moratorium ends, evictions climb back up in Mecklenburg County

More people are being forced to leave their homes as one more safety net is cut.

MECKLENBURG COUNTY, N.C. — The United States could see a wave of evictions now that the Supreme Court has rejected the Biden administration's moratorium. At least 400,000 North Carolina residents have fallen behind on their rent, according to a recent survey from the U.S. Census Bureau.

WCNC Charlotte's Lexi Wilson followed deputies with the Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office as they enforced evictions Friday morning.

"I've been with the sheriff's office for 15 years, been doing evictions for going on five now," deputy Matt Williams said. "It's a different show every day." 

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Evictions cases slowed dramatically due to the federal moratorium, but they're picking back up again as courts begin scheduling cases that have been delayed. 

Williams predicted Mecklenburg County would see a rise in evictions in the next few months.

"Most likely, prior to the pandemic we were doing 75 a day in the county," he said. "During the pandemic, we were doing about 20 to 30. Now, we're getting back up to 50 or more as they work their way through the system."

Williams attempted several evictions in the Steele Creek area. Five were completed.

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The Biden administration is now asking state and local governments to distribute already existing funds for rental relief. But the reality of evictions returning is one both citizens and aid groups are bracing for.

"What happens in those cases, one of two things happen," said Link Floyd Davis, the CEO of Community Link.  "One, they move in with friends or relatives. Or the second is they move into one of these long-term hotels."

Community Link helps find housing for people who are homeless. Davis, who sees clients himself, is uncertain about the path ahead. 

"We're going to have a larger homeless population in this country," he said. "I don't see the resolution of the problem happening in 90 days."

He hopes he's wrong. Still, Davis and other groups with similar missions to Community Link know there's a long road ahead.

Rent and utility assistance is available in Mecklenburg through the Ramp CLT program for households with a pandemic-related financial hardship. First priority will be given to those with an eviction hearing scheduled, followed by those with the lowest incomes. Apply online or by calling 980-406-7509.

Contact Lexi Wilson at lwilson@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

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