Utah’s pandemic rental assistance is good, but not enough. In order to help renters who, due to COVID-19 related circumstances, are unable to pay their rent, the state has made roughly $4 million available to renters through the Department of Housing & Community Development (utahhousing.org).
While this is a step in the right direction, the assistance comes on the heels of Gov. Gary Herbert’s decision to end the eviction moratorium on May 15, which prevented renters from being evicted from their homes during a national pandemic and economic crisis. The money is also only available to those who do not qualify for unemployment benefits — this means those who have lost their employment or have experienced reduced wages due to COVID-19, and are receiving some unemployment assistance, will not be able to access these funds. This puts some of the most vulnerable renters at a greater risk of eviction.
I add my voice to those calling for Herbert to extend the eviction moratorium until the economy is more fully recovered, the statewide unemployment rate has decreased and wages have returned to Utah homes.