ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - It’s a new month which means hundreds of thousands of Americans who are out of work because of the novel coronavirus pandemic are wondering how they are going to pay rent.
A St. Petersburg man told FOX 13 he worries he faces eviction.
Like millions of others, Spencer Wells is out of work and out of money. He’s a bartender, but bars are closed to slow the spread of COVID-19.
He’s been scrambling, and struggling to find other income, knowing April rent for his downtown St. Pete apartment was inching closer.
“That was my only income,” Wells said. “I feel guilty, I feel embarrassed because I didn’t have four and five months of savings built up.”
He says his apartment complex said it’s ‘business as usual,’ although they have agreed a payment arrangement for Wells to pay rent for April, through the end of May.
Wells said, with no money coming in, the payment plan only buys him a little time.
“It’s not possible for the majority of us,” he said. “What’s the most stressful and frustrating and scary is the uncertainty and unknown.”
A handful of states have suspended evictions and foreclosures. Florida is not one of them.
President Donald Trump said the Housing and Urban Development Department will suspend foreclosures and evictions through April for federally funded mortgages.
Sheriff’s in some counties, including Hillsborough, have said they won’t enforce evictions right now, but Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri has said he has to follow the law.
St. Petersburg’s Mayor, Rick Kriseman has called on Gov. DeSantis to take action.
“The governor is really the one who can do it, just like that, if he wants to,” St. Pete Mayor Rick Kriseman said.
Experts say the best thing you can do, for now, is to work with your landlord and ask for a reduction or extension.
If you feel sick:
The Florida Department of Health has opened a COVID-19 Call Center at 1-866-779-6121. Agents will answer questions around the clock. Questions may also be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Email responses will be sent during call center hours.
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