Letter to the Editor

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Our state’s eviction moratorium ends on June 30, in just a few short months. Without a reasonable grace period to pay back rent accrued during the pandemic’s economic crisis, many people like me could face immediate eviction. So many people have lost work or lost income during this crisis and are behind on payments through no fault of their own. I’m an in-home caregiver in North Bend. I have diabetes that makes me highly vulnerable to COVID, so my work options have been limited and I’ve only found work for two days a week. When COVID first hit, I started paying my rent months in advance in case I lost my job. Even so, I’m not making enough to live. I’ve been late on many of my bills, accumulating late charges. It all adds up, and I’m worried about how I’ll keep my lights and my internet on. I am also very worried about my son, who rents his own home and has a 1-year-old old baby, being evicted as well.

That is why I support Senate Bill 282. This important bill will give my family more time to pay the back rent owed and access the new rental assistance that is being allocated to Coos County. We all know that the state unemployment system took extra time to get benefits out the door and it is the same with the housing assistance. No one deserves to lose their homes because of the pandemic.

If you have one eviction, even if it’s not your fault, no one will rent to you. Plus, once you’ve been homeless that stigma stays with you and it gets even harder to find housing. It took 2.5 years for my elderly mother and I to find affordable housing. If we’re able to stay in our current housing, we’ll be able to overcome the impacts of COVID-19 and keep plowing forward to pay things back. Lawmakers have the power to keep low-income and vulnerable tenants like me and my son safe, with a roof over our heads.

Maryanne Kelley

North Bend

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