ORLANDO, Fla. – A new order by Gov. Ron DeSantis is offering continued protection for Floridians struggling to pay rent and mortgages for at least another month.
What You Need To Know
- Gov. DeSantis extends moratorium on foreclosures, evictions
- The extension is through July 1
- Many Floridians still struggling to pay rent, bills
Hours before the statewide moratorium on foreclosures and evictions was set to expire, DeSantis authorized an extension until July 1. The order is offering needed relief for people hit hard by the pandemic and struggling to keep up with mounting bills.
“It’s beyond frustrating,” said James Simon, who lives in Orlando.
These past few months have been overwhelming for Simon. He lost his restaurant job in mid-March when the coronavirus forced shutdowns statewide.
“By the time they approved my unemployment, I was already two months behind on rent which is April and May. Now, I’m going to be behind on June,” Simon said.
He’s gotten two unemployment payments in the two and a half months he’s been out of work, but it’s not enough to cover bills and rent he desperately wants to pay.
“I know the landlord, the landlord knows me. I always make my payment on time and all of a sudden, it’s embarrassing," Simon said. "It’s embarrassing not to be able to pay your rent, not to be able to pay your bills and have to call and say hey, I don’t have the money."
Last week, he lost his car. And even as some businesses and restaurants open back up, he said his employer hasn't yet opened up their dine-in services so they haven't yet called him back in yet. But his landlord is working with him on payment plans, he knows they have bills to cover, too.
“So, either way we’re all screwed in Florida and the governor don’t seem to care,” he said.
Simon said he needs the months of unemployment back-payments the state promised him and others and he needs to get back to work.
For the past few weeks up until Monday night, he worried he'd lose his housing and end up with nowhere to go. The governor's last-minute extension on eviction moratoriums that was signed last night will help to stop that, at least for now. But Simon says more is needed for him and for other Floridians facing these same issues.
“Pushing the eviction notice to back in July, it helps but it doesn’t solve the issue," Simon said. "You know, it does help but at the end of the day, we are still liable for the rent."