Clean Water for NC has been involved in advocating for low-income North Carolinians against utility rate increases for years, and we saw new concerns emerge with COVID’s significant financial hardship for many families nationally and in North Carolina. Staff, along with volunteer Lee Barnes, explored the nuances and impacts of the pandemic on utility insecurity, eviction insecurity, and houselessness in the U.S., and specifically North Carolina, during COVID-19.
The Utility and eviction moratoria are discussed in the context of race and class, especially considering access to utilities and reasonably priced rent before the pandemic as compared to during. The nature of utility shut-offs and why utility access is so important during a pandemic is covered in some detail, and there is discussion of private vs. public water utilities. We examine types of evictions and the legal nature of these evictions, along with the geographic patterns of evictions in the United States. The emotional, financial, and medical impacts of houselessness on Americans, especially during the pandemic, and especially during the climate crisis, are explored, as well as their racial context. We also include resources and highlight organizations providing assistance.
Clean Water for NC aims to demonstrate our commitment to holistically considering the issues facing underserved communities. We hope state policies better protect BIPOC communities facing water disconnections, higher rates of eviction, and unhoused status.