Floridians Face Evictions and Power Cutoffs in October

Published: Oct. 1, 2020 at 5:13 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCJB) - Floridians are facing a double whammy going into October.

One of the state’s largest energy providers is moving forward with power cutoffs and the state’s eviction moratorium expired.

If you’re behind on rent, you’ll likely have to pay up now that the state’s eviction moratorium has expired.

“Over 660,000 Florida residents or renters are at threat of eviction right now,” said Bertisha Combs with the New Florida Majority.

There are still protections for those who can’t pay due to pandemic related hardship through the CDC.

“So that’s the only way that Florida residents are covered at the moment,” said Combs.

But if you’re behind on your electric bill, your options are limited.

“This is an issue of human rights and dignity. It’s impossible to live in Florida without power,” said State Representative Anna Eskamani.

Florida Power and Light plans to resume cutoffs this month for those who have fallen behind on their bill.

“There are 258,000 households and businesses facing that situation,” said Aliki Moncrief with Florida Conservation Voters.

Progressive groups and Democratic lawmakers are hoping the Governor will extend eviction protections and the Public Service Commission will stop power from being shut off cut until June of 2021.

“Really it is in the public services' hands right now and the Governor’s hands. The other tools they’ve denied us constitutionally because they will not allow legislators back in to do legislative work,” said State Senator Jose Javier Rodriguez.

The Public Service Commission has been petitioned by the legal organization Earth Justice to stop power cutoffs, but no decision has been made yet.

Without a state eviction ban, the CDC protections are set to expire on January 1st, but the legality of the CDC order is being challenged in court.

The Florida Apartment Association is pushing back on the eviction protections telling us in a statement, “The CDC order fails to address the underlying issue, which is the financial hardship caused by the COVID-19 crisis. The Florida Apartment Association urges local, state, and federal policymakers to provide rent relief to those in need, which in turn will support multifamily housing operators who depend on this income to be able to provide quality rental housing for Florida’s 2.8 million apartment residents.”

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