Evicted, Despite a Federal Moratorium: ‘I Do Not Know What I am Going to Do’
LAS VEGAS — Inside Courtroom 8A of Las Vegas Justice Court last week, the benches were packed with renters and landlords battling over evictions that continued at a brisk pace despite a last minute, two-month extension of the federal protections meant to keep people in their homes.
Vanessa Merryman, 41, was among the tenants ordered to leave her apartment.
“I have never been homeless in my life,” she said through tears, slouched on a metal bench outside the courtroom as the scorching Las Vegas sun beat through the windows. She was shellshocked that the court session that upended her life lasted all of 15 minutes. “I do not know what I am going to do,” she said. “It is really scary.”
The federal moratorium on evictions — combined with billions of dollars in rent subsidies — was supposed to avert the scenario of millions of Americans being turned out of their homes after they lost their jobs during the pandemic and were unable to afford their rent.
Yet despite these efforts, many local governments and courts were not sure how to apply the extension, and desperate tenants continued to flood local government websites seeking rental assistance that was usually slow in coming.