North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper and Chief Justice Cheri Beasley’s orders on May 30 pertaining to the moratorium on evictions will help keep North Carolina’s students healthy and safe in the months ahead. With almost one million North Carolinians, out of the approximately four million working adults, filing for state or federal unemployment this spring, many families are struggling to pay their bills, including rent.
On May 30, Governor Cooper issued Executive Order 142, which includes a moratorium on evictions for late payment or nonpayment. Additionally, the order provides an extra six months payoff period for rent that comes due from May 30 to June 21 without any penalties. Earlier this spring, Chief Justice Beasley ordered all court proceedings postponed until June 1, effectively stopping eviction proceedings during the initial wave of COVID-19. In conjunction with Executive Order 142, Chief Justice Beasley issued an order extending the stay on eviction proceedings until June 21, in accordance with the federal CARES Act on March 27, 2020, and announced the creation of a voluntary mediation program for residential evictions.
This is good first step toward providing protection for North Carolina’s most vulnerable students. Research shows that students who experience eviction are more likely to live in families earning low incomes, belong to communities of color, and have special education needs than students who do not experience eviction. These students are also at heightened risk to contract COVID-19 and/or be more likely to suffer greater harm if they do contract COVID-19. Ensuring these students do not become homeless is critical to protecting their health and well-being. With the announcement of these orders, Governor Cooper and Chief Justice Beasley have taken an important step to help prevent eviction among those impacted by the economic devastation of COVID-19. Additional housing policies may provide further support to vulnerable children and their families during the months and years ahead.