UPDATE: 8:49 p.m. — Gov. Ron DeSantis signed an executive order extending the moratorium on evictions in Florida until August 1. It's the third time his original order putting the moratorium in place has been extended.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Gathering outside the Governor's Mansion Tuesday, housing reform advocates called on Gov. DeSantis to extend his moratorium on evictions and foreclosures through September, saving thousands of Floridians from being forced from their homes when the current month-long extension expires Wednesday.
What You Need To Know
- RELATED: Housing Activists Call for 90-Day Extension to Eviction Moratorium
- RELATED: Advocates Want DeSantis to Extend Moratorium on Evictions, Foreclosures
- DeSantis vetoed $225 million in affordable housing funding in signing budget Monday
- DeSantis says cuts will be offset by state spending CARES act funding on rental, mortgage assistance
They said a 90-day extension could give state leaders time to craft a housing assistance package that would absolve renters and homeowners of back payments that have piled up amid widespread economic ruin caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
"Floridians are scared. They're confused. They're tired. We want a leader. Someone who will take bold, direct and immediate action to ensure that people have basic needs," said Lakey Love of the Florida Housing Justice Alliance.
As the clock ticked toward a midnight expiration of the moratorium, DeSantis gave no indication Tuesday that he would extend it, dismissing a reporter's question about the issue at an afternoon press conference in Juno Beach. After implementing the moratorium in the early days of the pandemic, DeSantis has issued two extensions.
In winnowing the state budget by $1 billion this week, the governor vetoed $225 million worth of affordable housing funding. He defended the action by noting that the state will be spending $250 million in federal CARES act funds on rent and mortgage assistance.
"Pretty much any economic hardship right now is going to be tied to this pandemic," DeSantis told reporters Monday. "I mean, it's pervasively affected our economy, so I think that's going to allow them to do what we would have wanted to do in some instances."
But that justification isn't good enough for Love and her fellow advocates.
"That excuse that he's giving, that the $250 [million] from the CARES act offsets the cuts is a lie, and it's not what the people want," she said. "The 250 from the CARES act wasn't enough. The money from the state legislature wasn't enough before he cut it."