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Will Nevada Evictions Spike When COVID-19 Moratoriums Lift?

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Thursday, June 11, 2020   

LAS VEGAS -- The pause from eviction granted to Nevadans who haven't been able to pay rent during the COVID-19 crisis has been extended through at least June 30, but many don't know how they'll make good on what they owe if they don't get their jobs back.

Nevada has the nation's highest unemployment rate due to the pandemic at 28%, with Las Vegas especially hard hit.

Norma Quinones was laid off from her job as a food server on March 15 after 20 years with the Aria Resort and Casino. She says she's lived in her current apartment for seven years.

"I'm paying my bills but I'm like a month behind on them, so I'm worried about it and scared," she states. "To move is not cheap. It's expensive."

In Nevada, the governor's moratorium froze eviction and foreclosure proceedings involving residential or commercial properties. It also blocks late fees or penalties for nonpayment during the pandemic, but does not exempt residents from eventually making up the payments.

The Aria is a part of MGM Resorts, which has said it plans to begin reopening many locations over the coming weeks.

Quinones received the $1,200 federal stimulus check and some unemployment funds, but because she works for tips, says it doesn't equal what she earns as a restaurant server on the Las Vegas Strip. As a result, she's two months behind on rent and has received several calls from bill collectors.

"I do tell them, 'I'm not working,' and then they say, 'Oh, we understand,'" she relates. "'We just want to let you know that you're behind on your bills -- your cell phone and the other bills,' and I'm like, 'I know, I know. I'm sorry about that. I will make it up. I will make it up.'"

Quinones adds that she's been fortunate as a member of Culinary Workers Union Local 226 to receive some food packages from the union during the long layoff.

According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, since the 1960s, rental costs have spiked 61%, while the wages of renters have stagnated, increasing by only 5%.

Disclosure: Coalition of Legal Services Programs contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy & Priorities, Disabilities, Health Issues, Social Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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