Unfortunately, the United States seems to be entering an eviction crisis, caused by the pandemic-triggered mass unemployment, combined with a government policy designed to use poverty to force people back to work. The reality of the situation is such that this policy is doomed to fail. Service jobs either don’t exist, or won’t last. As the COVID-19 pandemic spikes again, more and more people will prefer to do things for themselves, rather than risking their health and that of their loved ones to have someone else do them.
This crisis, though preventable, seems likely to unfold without any useful action from the Republican-controlled federal government, and the states are limited in resources, power, and goodwill. Either way, you may know someone, or know someone who knows someone, who has fallen behind on their rent due to lack of income, and is facing eviction. Homelessness is dangerous, economically damaging, and can be difficult to recover from. Hopefully some of these resources will be useful to someone, somewhere.
First, here’s a link to my most recent COVID-19 mutual aid post. It’s not 100% up to date, and I might have missed some resources, but there’s a lot there, and hopefully some people will find something useful there. As always, let me know if I left anything important out.
Second, a note from a friend of mine who works for the USPS:
The evictions have started. It’s been a terrible Monday at the post office.
If you are or have been staying at a hotel/motel, you can have mail sent to that address…BUT!!! You can’t put in a Change of Address from that business to another address whenever you might decide to move later on. Only the business owners can forward mail from that address. In this situation, about the best thing you can do is just notify everyone you possible can where you want them to send your mail when you move. Update account information, call your bank, etc. Businesses like hotels will most likely just return your mail even if you lived there for quite some time.
If you only have the option of staying at a hotel/motel, you might be able to open up a PO Box at your local post office if the business owner allows use of their address or if you have another address that could be used on the application. You can also ask your local post office about General Delivery, which would allow you to temporarily forward your mail to that post office’s address. Usually, it only lasts for 30 days, but talk with the clerks and your local Postmaster and I’m sure they would be able to come up with longer term solutions if necessary.
If you move in with friends or family and they’re okay with it, have your mail sent to their address. This is probably the easiest option when it comes to forwarding your mail. And you can always just alter your forwarding status if you do decide to move elsewhere later on, and that’s a simple process on our end.
There are options. We will help you figure things out, and find solutions so that you don’t miss important mail pieces. Just go to your local post office, explain what’s going on, and we’ll help you however we can. The biggest thing is to just let us know what’s up. We can’t find solutions for you if we don’t know you need help.
Here are a couple helpful links:
Official Change of Address form:
Note: Change of Address services are completely free at your local post office and should only cost about $1 online. If a website tries to charge you more than that, then it is very likely a third party for-profit scamming website.
The USPS can be a powerful tool for American citizens, which is probably part of why conservative politicians and their backers want to destroy it and replace it with private corporations. Fortunately, it still exists, and for all its flaws, it’s there to help you, so use it if you need to.