Governor Roy Cooper signed Executive Order 184 this week extending North Carolina’s evictions moratorium through January 31, 2021. Research shows that eviction moratoriums help prevent the spread of COVID-19. States that let their eviction moratoriums lapse saw a COVID-19 incidence rate that was 1.6 times higher than states that kept a moratorium in place.
“Too many families are living on the edge, trying to do the right thing, but left with impossible choices. This Order will help them stay in their homes, which is essential to slowing the spread of the virus,” Governor Cooper said.
E.O. 184 clarifies and expands the federal eviction moratorium, which was extended by Congress until January 31, 2021. With many people struggling financially due to this pandemic, this Order halts evictions for nonpayment of rent.
In North Carolina, an estimated 485,000 adults in rental housing reported that they are not caught up on rent and nearly three million adults reported difficulty in covering usual household expenses, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
This order also extends protections for individuals applying for assistance through the state’s Housing Opportunities and Prevention of Evictions (HOPE) Program. This program assists North Carolinians facing financial hardship by providing rent and utility payments directly to landlords and utility companies. Over 21,000 renters have been notified that they will receive rent or utility payment help and award notices totaling $37.4 million have been issued as the HOPE Program continues to provide more assistance to its applicants.
The Eviction Moratorium Executive Order received approval from the Council of State.
Governor Cooper also underscored the importance of doubling down on prevention efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19 by wearing a mask and practicing social distancing. North Carolina has seen record-high rates of hospitalizations and percent of COVID-19 tests returning positive in the last week. The state is also under a Modified Stay at Home Order until at least January 8, 2021, which requires people to be home between the hours of 10 pm – 5 am.