Moments ago, Governor Steve Sisolak (D) announced that he will extend Nevada’s residential eviction moratorium to May 31. He acknowledged, “Originally, I did not plan on extending this moratorium. However, I can not allow any Nevadans to lose their homes.” However, Sisolak also warned, “There will not be another extension.”
So what remains the same, what’s set to change, and what kind of assistance can Nevadans expect in the weeks ahead?
First off, why is this (still) necessary?
When Governor Steve Sisolak issued Nevada’s first eviction moratorium on March 29, 2020, he declared, “This decision was made because this is not the time to put people out on the streets, which will only result in an increased risk of infection and more strain on our health care system.”
Since then Sisolak has occasionally tried to phase out the moratorium, but ultimately decided to keep some level of eviction moratorium in place. When Sisolak last extended the moratorium last December, evictions began to spike again amidst an especially vicious winter surge in COVID-19 infections. While President Joe Biden recently approved an extension of the federal eviction moratorium, the federal order is mostly a continuation of the Trump-era policy that provides ample loopholes for landlords and lenders to use to justify evictions. And while vaccinations are picking up, Nevada’s economy remains in a precarious place as we await further growth in vaccinations and further distribution of American Rescue Plan dollars (and maybe even a second Biden economic stimulus package).
With Nevada’s current residential eviction moratorium set to expire tomorrow, Sisolak appeared alongside State Senate Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro (D-Las Vegas), Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson (D-Las Vegas), and local housing officials to announce one more two-month extension. As Sisolak explained, “Originally, I did not plan on extending this moratorium. However, I can not allow any Nevadans to lose their homes.”
“Originally, I did not plan on extending this moratorium. However, I can not allow any Nevadans to lose their homes.”
– Governor Steve Sisolak
So what’s about to happen? Long story short: The State of Nevada’s current residential eviction moratorium will remain in place until May 31. From there, Sisolak claimed, “There will not be another extension.” However, Sisolak also explained that while eviction court filings will resume in June, actual eviction orders will not be granted or enforced until the Biden administration’s federal order expires later that month.
In the meantime, Shannon Chambers, President of the Board of Directors from Home Means Nevada, promised that the state’s mediation program will continue to expand the mediation program that launched last fall. Kevin Schiller, Assistant County Manager for Clark County, then walked everyone through the process as it works in Nevada’s most populous county. He encouraged distressed renters to visit Clark County’s CARES Housing Assistance Program (CHAP) website, as renters will have to apply for aid and provide proof of income in order to secure aid going forward.
As Sisolak noted, “Thanks to President Joe Biden and most of our Congressional delegation, we are getting millions in assistance from the American Rescue Plan. Our plan is not to let any of these funds go unused.” Sisolak also explained that his eviction moratorium order is not redundant in regards to federal policy, but rather complementary and necessary in order to provide time for new Rescue Plan programs to launch, and potentially for the Nevada Legislature to take additional action.
In Clark County alone, officials expect $161 million in housing aid, but they also need time to receive these federal dollars and launch (or replenish) these programs. In total, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) counts $21.6 billion in emergency rent assistance, $5 billion in housing vouchers for those at risk of homelessness, an additional $5 billion in flexible homelessness relief aid, and $750 million in housing aid for Native American communities in the American Rescue Plan.
“Now is the time to engage with rental assistance programs. It’s up to you.”
– Governor Steve Sisolak
Though Cannizzaro and Frierson didn’t provide details on what exactly the Legislature may do on housing while they’re in session, they did indicate they will at least ensure that the specific housing dollars in the Rescue Plan that go into state coffers and the additional $2.95 billion in flexible state aid will be invested wisely. For Frierson, “Nevada families are looking to us to help them get back on their feet. This extension will provide everyone time to get back on track.”
As Cannizzaro summed it up, “There is help available if you’re facing a potential eviction. This is a good step in the right direction. We need to keep people in their homes in order to have a viable path to recovery.” And regarding any potential future legislation in Carson City, Sisolak just said, “It’s my expectation that stakeholders will get all the pieces into place.” So far, Senator Julia Ratti (D-Sparks) is proposing SB 218 to mandate at least a three-day grace period for rent payment and more landlord transparency on other possible surcharges.
In the meantime, Sisolak expressed optimism for brighter days ahead: “Now, more than ever, there is hope on the horizon for the end of this pandemic. We are closer to the end than the beginning, but there is a lot more work to be done.” And he once more reminded all Nevadans at risk of eviction, “Now is the time to engage with rental assistance programs. It’s up to you.”
If you have further questions about COVID-19 and your health, check Nevada Health Response on testing in your area, check Immunize Nevada for more information on vaccine availability in your area, and check Nevada 211 for more health care resources. If you’re in need of additional aid, check the Nevada Current’s and Battle Born Progress’ resource guides. If you can afford proper treatment and you are fortunate enough to help others in need, please donate to larger operations like Direct Relief and Mutual Aid Disaster Relief, and to local groups like Three Square. And for goodness sake, please wear your masks and maintain social distancing from people outside your household.
The cover photo is a screenshot taken by me.