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In early September, Cristina Velez lost her job running the staffing team on a Covid-19 treatment trial. Faced with a $2,440 rent bill on the Boca Raton, Fla., home she shares with her daughter, Velez began calling her landlord, Progress Residential, to ask whether it would give her time to come up with the money.

“I told them I was affected by Covid, but it didn’t matter to them,” Velez said. “They are not very patient.”