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How government aid stopped a surge – for now

Latroya Goines and her husband Jesse Goines at their Westwood home .

Latroya and Jesse Goines experienced plenty of heartaches and hassles in 2020, from losing their jobs to raising three kids without school or daycare.

But one crisis the Westwood couple averted this year is the one that seemed like a sure thing just a few months ago: Despite falling four months behind on rent, they haven’t been evicted.

The Goines family, like millions of others across the country, is still in their home because of a combination of hard work, government aid and moratoriums that slowed or stopped eviction courts during much of the coronavirus pandemic.

An Enquirer analysis of court records shows eviction filings in Hamilton County declined by more than one-third from 2019 to 2020. Almost 4,000 fewer eviction cases were filed in the county this year.

Nationwide, housing advocates say, the intervention of federal, state and local governments prevented an expected explosion in evictions and saved as many as 40 million Americans from being forced from their homes during the pandemic.

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But that government aid won't last forever. Congress approved a new federal stimulus package last week that includes about $25 billion in rental assistance and extends the last national moratorium for at least a month, and President Donald Trump signed it Sunday night despite calling it "a disgrace" for not including more direct payments to all Americans.

Without the new stimulus, federal moratoriums and most rental assistance would have ended Dec. 31, creating a potential explosion in evictions. 


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