The following is a copy of a letter was recently sent to North Carolina Governor, Roy Cooper; North Carolina Senate President Pro Tempore, Phil Berger; and North Carolina House Speaker, Tim Moore.
This letter is written to you on behalf of the Eviction Prevention Working Group. The Working Group was formed under the sponsorship of the Duke Law School Global Financial Markets Center and North Carolina Leadership Forum, also housed at Duke University, to develop policy solutions to an impending eviction crisis resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic and the economic contraction that followed. The Working Group’s membership includes representatives of the public, private and nonprofit sectors. This letter is a follow-up to the one sent to you by the Working Group on February 24, 2021, the text of which is attached for your reference.
The Working Group writes to you today to support the continuing efforts of North Carolina’s Executive and Legislative branches to cause the rental support funding from recently enacted Federal legislation to be fairly and effectively allocated. That said, the continuation of rental payment moratoria, understandable though they may be, has increased stress on both landlords and tenants (more fully discussed in our prior letter) and has, at best, postponed the day of reckoning for many of them. In order that relief to property owners and renters may be most effective when final agreement between the branches of government is reached, we respectfully request that such resolution include: (i) an increase of the ceiling on relief eligibility for renters from 50% of average family household income to 80%; and (ii) application of available and necessary State funds (perhaps from the ARP allocation) to augment Federal assistance specifically designated for rent and utility assistance so that support can be as broad as possible. The first of these two requests can be done by NCORR without legislative action but will likely need executive involvement; the second will require a legislative appropriation. Both together can do a world of good for North Carolina’s low-and moderate-income citizens, the property owners who house them, the communities in which they live, and North Carolina’s public health and general welfare.
As we stated in our letter of February 24, the members of the Working Group acknowledge how difficult it is to manage the governmental interventions required to address the Covid-19 pandemic, restart businesses and schools, and stave off evictions. We hope that this letter is helpful to you in the last of those endeavors and stand ready to assist you.
Thank you, as always, for your leadership.
Joseph A. Smith, Jr., Senior Fellow, Global Financial Markets Center, Duke Law School
Lee Reiners, Executive Director, Global Financial Markets Center, Duke Law School
Jesse McCoy II, Senior Lecturing Fellow and Supervising Attorney, Civil Justice Clinic, Duke Law School
Jennings Snider, President, Apartment Association of North Carolina
Rick Glazier, Executive Director, NC Justice Center
Kelly Marks, 2020-2021 President, NC REALTORS®
Steve Powel, Executive Chairman, SitusAMC
Mark Goldhaber, Goldhaber Policy Services
Adam Abram, Chapel Hill, NC
Bill Rowe, General Counsel and Deputy Director of Advocacy, NC Justice Center