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Florida governor’s order on evictions, foreclosures extended through July

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Gov. Ron DeSantis late Tuesday extended until Aug. 1 an executive order that seeks to help prevent foreclosures and evictions amid job losses and financial problems caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

DeSantis made the announcement just hours before an earlier extension was scheduled to expire.

DeSantis initially issued an order April 2 that offered protections for people facing foreclosures or evictions. He issued extensions on May 14 and June 1.

Before the order was extended, a handful of activists posted an eviction notice outside the Governor’s Mansion on Tuesday.

“We pay Gov. DeSantis to be in this house. Why don’t you, like, try to keep us in our house?” said Trish Brown with the Florida Housing Justice Alliance.

Brown said she and her family have faced a housing crisis for years.

“Being on your last leg when it comes down to money, having bills crash down on you with no way to breathe,” said Brown.

Florida Democrats had asked for the extension.

“In order to make sure this pandemic doesn’t impact people’s security to have a place to live, the moratoriums are extremely essential,” said state Sen. Audrey Gibson.

But property owners were not happy.

One manager said he expected a race to the courthouse, accusing some renters of using the moratorium to avoid paying rent even though they were still working.

State Sen. Gary Farmer believes banks need to start looking out for landlords.

“I do think landlords need some relief with regard to any mortgages them may have or loans they may have because they have to make payments perhaps, as well,” said Farmer.

The extension is important because even though a total of $395 million in state and federal funding is being made available to help people with rent and mortgages, it has not yet started to flow.

“This money is so critical to our local communities,” said Cragin Mosteller with the Florida Association of Counties.

Mosteller explained each county will have its own set of rules on disbursement.

“Each county is going to have to make a decision. It’s an important decision on how quickly to get that money out there,” said Mosteller.

And the Florida Housing Finance Corporation said it is still working on a distribution formula that will combine population and unemployment rate.

Some money is expected to be disbursed in July.