Gov. DeSantis: ‘We might’ extend eviction protection

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Gov. Ron DeSantis appears to again be waiting until the deadline to announce if he will extend an executive order to help prevent foreclosures and evictions amid job losses and financial problems caused by the novel coronavirus pandemic.

With the current order set to expire on Saturday, DeSantis was asked if he would approve another extension.

“We might,” he told reporters during a press conference at AdventHealth Orlando on Tuesday. “We’ll have an announcement on that soon.”

The governor waited until late on June 30 before issuing the latest monthly extension of his April 2 executive order, which offered protections for people facing foreclosures or evictions.

DeSantis issued the April order, which he has extended three times, as COVID-19 began to take hold in Florida.

At the time, the Department of Economic Opportunity was still working to make paper applications available for unemployment assistance.

The online system had been overwhelmed as 348,000 applications were submitted between mid-March and the start of April.

The state agency reported Tuesday that, from March 15 through Monday, more than 3.3 million jobless claims have been filed, of which 1.8 million claims have been paid a total of $11.96 billion. The federal government is responsible for $9.2 billion of the payments.

The pandemic has seen the state’s jobless count grow from 2.8 percent in February, when 291,000 Floridians were considered out of work, to 10.4 percent in June, with 1.02 million people unemployed.

The June number is a drop from the April peak of 13.8 percent, when 1.218 million Floridians qualified as unemployed.