By Kimberly Berryman and Nick Watt, CNN
When CNN knocked on her door, Dasha Kelly panicked, thinking the eviction she’s been dreading was finally at hand.
“You guys honestly freaked me out this morning when you knocked,” she said.
Kelly — who was in the apartment with her boyfriend’s three daughters, Sharron, 8; Kia, 6; and Imani, 5 — is living on borrowed time.
She is two months behind on rent at her two-bedroom Las Vegas apartment. The eviction notice she received is kept in a drawer in the kitchen, out of sight but top of mind.
“I’m really thinking they’re coming at any moment.”
The federal eviction moratorium that was helping to keep renters in their homes through the pandemic expired Saturday at midnight, paving the way for landlords to vacate tenants that are past due on rent. States are stepping up to help stave off a mass eviction, but not everyone can be reached or helped in time.
Kelly says she lost her job as a card dealer when Covid-19 forced Las Vegas’ famed casinos to shut their doors last year.
She’s had a few temporary positions since, she says, but not enough to keep up with rent.
The apartment is bare save for a small sofa in the living room and a television. Kelly says she sleeps on the floor in the larger bedroom while the girls she cares for part-time share a smaller room with no bed.
“There are days I don’t even want to roll out the bed (or) roll out the floor, you get what I mean?” she said.
More than 11 million Americans are behind on their rent, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Congress approved $46 billion to help, but very little of that money has been handed out. In Nevada, a new law states that tenants who have applied for the Cares Housing Assistance Program (CHAP) may not be evicted while their case is being processed. However, the bureaucratic process can be complicated and not every landlord or tenant is keeping up with the ever-changing rules.
Nevada has extended its eviction protection to those who are in the process of applying for rental assistance. The state has also passed a law to seal eviction records from the pandemic.
Kelly had created a GoFundMe page for $2,000 to help raise money for her rent in July.
As of Sunday night, it had raised more than $200,000.
GoFundMe tells CNN they are in close contact with Kelly and funds will stay on hold until they verify her information. GoFundMe says no funds have been withdrawn.
Both Shadia Hilo, the girl’s mother, and Kelly tell CNN the girls will be returning to Hilo’s home for the start of the school year while Kelly determines her next step.
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