Emerging Community Priorities from Grassroots Organizations for COVID-19. (Use the links below to skip to a resource section.)

EVICTION MORATORIUMS
UNEMPLOYMENT ASSISTANCE
Community Demands for Equity
MUTUAL AID FUNDS
JAIL LITIGATION
EVICTION MORATORIUMS
UNEMPLOYMENT ASSISTANCE
Community Demands for Equity
MUTUAL AID FUNDS
JAIL LITIGATION

EVICTION MORATORIUMS IN FLORIDA

Protections are in place to prevent evictions across the country, but you must act to protect yourself and your household. However, these policies don’t forgive the rent you may owe, that’s why Floridians are fighting for further relief to #CancelRent and mortgage payments. Your landlord cannot make you leave your home without a court order and these rights apply regardless of your immigration status.

Many Florida courts have begun processing eviction cases again. Tenants unable to pay rent may still have protections based in federal moratoriums, but must raise them in court if an eviction is filed. If an eviction is filed against you, contact an attorney or your local legal aid organization right away. If you are unable to find an attorney, you can use floridaevictionhelp.org to draft a response and file it before the five business day deadline expires. Watch the video at this link for instructions on how to file your response online.

NATIONWIDE CDC MORATORIUM

Thanks to grassroots organizing across the country, a federal moratorium on residential evictions is in place from September 4 through December 31, 2020 by order of the Center for Disease Control.

The moratorium is not an automatic protection. Each adult in the household must submit a signed declaration to their landlord, swearing to the eligibility criteria under penalty of perjury.

You are eligible if you are a renter and you:

  • use best efforts to obtain all available government assistance for rent or housing

  • either (i) earn no more than $99,000 in annual income in 2020 ($198,000 if filing a joint tax return),
    (ii) were not required to file taxes in 2019
    (iii) received a stimulus check

  • are unable to pay the full rent due to substantial loss of household income, loss of compensable hours of work or wages, a lay-off, or extraordinary out-of-pocket medical expenses

  • use best efforts to make partial rent payments

  • and an eviction would leave them homeless or force you into tight quarters with others

SEND A DECLARATION TO YOUR LANDLORD
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The CDC’s moratorium prohibits non-payment evictions against tenants who are already in court and those who have not yet been sued by their landlord, so long as the declaration is sent. It does not stop evictions for cause or cancel rent payments, and as a result unpaid rent may be due as a lump sum at the end of the year.

CDC MORATORIUM FACT SHEET
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PREVIOUS PROTECTIONS
CARES ACT FEDERAL MORATORIUM

A federal moratorium on certain evictions was in effect from March 27, 2020 through July 25, 2020. During that period, landlords of covered properties are prohibited by federal law from sending you 3-day notices of non-payment and from filing a new eviction case for failure to pay rent during this period. After July 25th, landlords must serve 30-day notices and file an eviction after that time expires. They are also prohibited from charging you fees or interest for late payment during this period. This doesn’t forgive the rent you may owe.

You are protected if you live in a covered property, which include, but are not be limited to:

  • properties with federally backed mortgages (FHA, Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, VA, HUD, USDA)

  • properties receiving low-income housing tax credits (LIHTC)

  • public housing

  • section 8 (vouchers and project-based units)

  • properties providing housing for the elderly, people with disabilities, homeless and people with AIDS with support from various federal programs

  • USDA and rural housing programs under the Dept. of Agriculture, including rural housing vouchers

You will not qualify for protection under this law if:

  • the eviction case was filed in court on or before March 26, 2020

  • the eviction case is based on breaking a rule in your rental agreement (other than payment)

  • your property isn’t covered by the law.

Some (but not all) of the covered properties are available at database link below. If your property is not listed here, you may still be covered.

Search the Florida Eviction Protection Database

Properties not included in the database above, may still be covered by federal law. Landlords and homeowners can check Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae’s look up tools to see if their single-family mortgage is covered. Additional protections apply to these properties. If you are a renter or homeowner in a single-family property with a mortgage backed by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, evictions and foreclosures are prohibited through August 31, 2020.

Florida courts have not announced how they will handle cases impacted by the new law. If you have an eviction case filed against you, contact an attorney or your local legal aid organization to see if they can help.

STATE AND COUNTY EVICTION MORATORIUMS

If you aren’t protected by the state or federal moratorium, there may be county-level protections, in place temporarily, that apply to both residential and commercial tenancies. As of October 1, 2020, Miami-Dade County Police are the only known department that has a continued moratorium in place, meaning they will not serve eviction papers or execute wir. Things are changing day by day, so always check with the clerk of court or an attorney to confirm the status of any policy changes if you have a case filed against you. Legal aid organizations are available to help by phone and online.

CHECK YOUR COUNTY COURT’S STATUS

Governor Ron DeSantis ended Florida’s statewide moratorium on October 1, 2020. Previous statewide moratoriums were put in place to protect residential tenants and single-family homeowners who:

  • suffered a loss of employment, diminished wages or business income, or other monetary loss realized during the Florida State of Emergency directly impacting their ability to make rent/mortgage payments

  • are facing eviction or foreclosure due to their inability to pay

The “final action at the conclusion” of the foreclosure or eviction cases in these cases was suspended through October 1, 2020.

The Executive Orders did not forgive or cancel payments, but noted that “all payments. including tolled payments, are due when an individual is no longer adversely affected by the COVID-19 emergency.”

From April 2 to August 1, a previous moratorium halted:

  • residential evictions for non-payment related to the Covid-19 crisis and

  • all mortgage foreclosures.

Evictions of commercial properties, such as small businesses and evictions for cause were not covered by the statewide moratoriums. Newly filed non-payment cases unrelated to Covid-19 may also be covered by the federal moratorium.

LSGMI FAQ FOR RENTERS

DEMANDING ACTION TO STOP EVICTIONS AND FORECLOSURES IN FLORIDA

READ THE REPORT TO THE UNITED NATIONS

Community organizations, like the Florida Housing Justice Alliance, have called on the governor to cancel rent and mortgage payments, institute a statewide moratorium on eviction, foreclosure, and utility shut off moratorium, provide direct assistance to impacted residents and house the homeless. While evictions are regulated at the state level, local leaders can and should act immediately to prevent further impact to our community during and in the aftermath of the state of emergency.

Demand Action
JOIN HOUSING PARTICIPATORY DEFENSE MEETINGS EVERY WEDNESDAY AT 6:00 PM

What can Florida’s leaders do to protect our community?

  • The Sheriff or County Police Department can decline to serve notices and enforce writs of possession during the emergency, as they prioritize urgent health and safety matters. Some courts have now required Sheriffs to stop these actions during this emergency. See the list above for more detailed information on each county.

  • The Florida Legislature should immediately pass legislation that expands the federal moratorium to all residential properties in Florida. They should also pass bills, such as the proposed SB 480, that place an automatic moratorium on evictions for renters and mobile home owners during and in the aftermath of declared states of emergency.

  • The Governor should expand the federal moratorium to all residential properties in Florida, and suspend state preemption on the protection of tenants rights during the state of emergency, allowing local governments to put in place the protections that they see fit to mitigate this disaster. On April 2, the Governor issued an executive order instituting a statewide moratorium on certain evictions for the next forty-five days.

  • The Florida Supreme Court and the Chief Judges of each Judicial Circuit should act swiftly to implement the new federal moratorium by requiring landlords to prove they are exempt in order to initiate an eviction. They should also exercise their authority under Fla. R. Jud. Admin. 2.205 to toll deadlines in eviction and foreclosure cases. See the list above for more detailed information on each county court.

  • Local governments that operate public housing can create automatic triggers to halt evictions during states of emergency. Miami-Dade County already has an ordinance (linked below) in place that addresses this, other counties should follow their example and consider expanding this as a condition of funding from affordable housing trust funds.

Eviction and foreclosure moratoriums are not a new concept, states and cities across the country have implemented them in response to natural disasters, economic recessions, holidays, and winter weather. Learn more about eviction moratoriums before this crisis here:

NATIONAL MAP OF EVICTION MORATORIUMS
EVICTION MORATORIUM MEMO (PRIOR TO COVID)

UNEMPLOYMENT ASSISTANCE & WORKERS RIGHTS

A new federal law allows workers in Florida to get up to 39 weeks in unemployment assistance through a stacking set of state and federal programs that will last until Dec. 31, 2020. Gig workers, independent contractors, and others who don’t usually qualify for state benefits can qualify for the full 39 weeks, but will have to wait until the state launches a separate application to apply.

Unfortunately, Florida’s existing program is considered the worst in the nation for workers. Our state leaders must act now to improve the program so that our residents can have access to desperately needed relief. Workers rights organizations like WeCount!, Miami Workers Center, and the unions across Florida are fighting to keep ensure that relief not only serve those that qualify under this program, but that all workers are supported.

Undocumented workers are left out of this relief and more advocacy is necessary to make sure all Floridians are supported through this difficult time. Learn more about eligibility for unemployment assistance for other immigration statuses, such as DACA and TPS, here.

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FLORIDA REEMPLOYMENT ASSISTANCE

Florida’s existing unemployment insurance program (“reemployment assistance”) is open. FL DEO launched a new application site on April 9. You can also call 1-800-204-2418 or apply using a paper form, but will experience delays. Paper forms can be mailed to: Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, PO Box 5350, Tallahassee, FL 32314-5350

Once you submit your application, check the CONNECT platform for updates. For more information and updates check floridajobsresources.com.

You may be eligible if:

  • You have lost your job through no fault of your own. You must not have quit for personal reasons or been fired for malicious conduct;

  • You must be totally or partially unemployed. You are eligible if your hours have been reduced against your will and you are earning less than $275 in gross earnings per week;

  • You earned at least $3,400 in the first four complete quarters of the past 18 months (there may be an exception under CARES Act);

  • Are available to work

Florida has recently suspended the waiting week, work search, and bi-weekly certification requirements for a limited time.

To apply, you will need your:

  • Social Security Number, Alien Registration Number, or other Work Authorization Form (if Non-U.S. Citizen)

  • Driver’s License or State ID

  • Union Name, Hall Number, and Phone Number (if you are a union member)

  • Employment History for last 18 months (ex. why you are no longer working there, FEIN Number, etc.)

Florida’s reemployment assistance program usually provides up to $275 per week, for twelve weeks. Through December 31, 2020, these benefits will be extended through a variety of federal programs and subsidies. You can receive up to thirty-nine weeks of benefits through these stacking programs.

You will continue to receive benefits in weeks thirteen through twenty-five, under Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (PUC).

In week twenty-six, you will be eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) through the end of 2020, if you meet the criteria described below.

Because of the crisis, the federal government previously added $600 per week to checks, bringing the maximum benefit to $875 for any week of benefits before July 31, 2020.

APPLY ONLINE FOR REEMPLOYMENT ASSISTANCE
DOWNLOAD THE PAPER APPLICATION
FL DEO FAQ
NELP GUIDE TO COVID UNEMPLOYMENT PROGRAMS

PANDEMIC UNEMPLOYMENT ASSISTANCE

Are you self-employed, a freelancer, independent contractor, gig worker, seeking part time work, or don’t have long enough work history to get reemployment assistance in Florida? Have you exhausted your Florida reemployment assistance? You may qualify for a new federal program, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), that provides support for up to 39 weeks or through the end of 2020, whichever comes first. Benefits can be applied retroactively to January 27, 2020.

You may be eligible for PUA if you certify that you are able and available to work, but you cannot because:

  • You have to quit your job because of COVID-19;

  • Your work is closed because of COVID-19;

  • You have been diagnosed with or are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19;

  • A member of your household has been diagnosed with COVID-19;

  • You are providing care for a family member or member of your household who has been diagnosed with COVID-19;

  • A child that you care for is unable to attend school that is closed because of COVID-19;

  • You cannot reach your job because a health care provider has advised you to self-quarantine;

  • You were scheduled to start your job but cannot because of COVID-19; or

  • You have become the breadwinner of your household because the head of household has died as a result of COVID-19.

You are not eligible apply if you are able to work from home with pay; or you are receiving paid sick leave or other paid leave benefits.

Undocumented workers are not eligible for PUA, as the program requires work authorization.

Miami-Dade County has a local ordinance in place that prohibits retaliation against certain workers if they are following orders during an emergency.

COMMUNITY DEMANDS EQUITY IN CONFRONTING CRISIS

The current coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak is not just a public health emergency, it’s an economic crisis, and both will disproportionately impact the most vulnerable among us.

As COVID-19 continues to take its toll, we must protect our local communities as they confront and attempt to mitigate its impacts, especially healthcare workers and vulnerable populations. The response must center and support marginalized communities who are already feeling the devastating economic impact of this pandemic, especially workers who are earning low wages and are one paycheck away from crisis, including individuals with disabilities and other special needs. We are a cross section of grassroots organizations from across Florida, led by and rooted in these communities. We’ve weathered storms and natural disasters, and know all too well how our communities can be left out of preparation and recovery efforts. As we face this crisis together, we demand:

FLORIDA COMMUNITY DEMANDS
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ADDITIONAL COMMUNITY DEMANDS IN RESPONSE TO THIS CRISIS (UPDATING)

Click the buttons below to view advocacy letters and more detailed demands on various issues from community organizations:

FPL: STOP UTILITY SHUT OFFS
ICE: SUSPEND CHECK INS IN MIRAMAR

SUPPORT COMMUNITY LED RELIEF FUNDS

IMMIGRANT WORKER FUND – WECOUNT!
MUTUAL AID FUND – THE SMILE TRUST
MUTUAL AID FUND – THE BLACK COLLECTIVE
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