Drive by protest seek rent cancellations

Updated: May. 31, 2020 at 12:47 AM EDT
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SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - If you filed for unemployment, the Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) says work search requirements will remain waived until June 13th. The waiting week requirement will continue waived until August 1st. The DEO has now paid out more than $3.8 million in benefits.

While the DEO rolls out payments, many are still waiting on benefits. An executive order pausing evictions and foreclosures is set to expire after being extended once already.

On Saturday, protesters took the streets of Sarasota, but in a different way: behind the wheel.

“It’s a demand for the cancellation of rent and mortgages for tenants or homeowners, small landlords and also small businesses,” said Ruth Beltran, one of the organizers.

She says her friends have been affected. Now they’re on edge, wondering how they’ll make their next payment.

“I have friends who lost their job and they’re under tremendous pressure right now because they have their children at home. In addition to quarantine, provide food for the children that are at home everyday, now they have the additional burden of worrying about how they’re going to pay their rent and the worry of being evicted during the pandemic crisis,” she said.

In just days, Florida’s freeze on evictions and foreclosures is set to expire on June 2nd. Many questioning what will happen next?

“We’re out here saying that it’s not acceptable,” said Bryan Ellis, who also organized the event.

“People are dying and we’re evicting them,” said Steven Keshishian, a protester.

They also took action by signing a petition for this nationwide movement while joining forces with another big movement that’s heating up across the country.

“We have to stand up on all sorts of oppression, whether the economic, racial or both. This country needs to live up to its promise of freedom and the pursue of happiness,” said Keshishian.

During a press conference on Friday in Boca Raton, Governor Ron DeSantis said he has yet to decide whether to extend this freeze on evictions. When he was asked by a reporter when will he decide, he said “pretty soon.”

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