Local groups concerned assistance won’t get to those facing eviction

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. – With the federal eviction moratorium expired, groups in Shelby County prepare for an increase in eviction notices.

Local evictions resumed in March when a federal judge ruled in favor of a group of landlords that challenged the CDC’s eviction ban.

With the federal moratorium expired, Shelby County eviction courts fully resumed Monday. This means landlords that were holding off are moving forward with eviction paperwork.

Local non-profit organizations are concerned that people will be evicted before they have a chance to get help. One of those organizations fighting for tenants is Memphis Area Legal services.

“I can see both sides of it. However, my concerns for the community is the fact that we have the Delta variant on the uprise and we have people who are going to be out on the streets,” Cindy Ettingoff of Memphis Area Legal Services said.

This urgency underscores the work of the Emergency Rental and Utility Assistance program which helps renters impacted by COVID-19 pay up to 12 months of owed rent and utilities.

“There are a lot of extremes we’ve seen in cases and it just makes you really grateful and really want to get the resources to the people.” Karen Gausse a Program Manager tells us.

With 13-million dollars left from the original 28 million dollars still available for use, the staff at the Emergency Rental and Utility Assistance program is working around landlords unwilling to accept money from the program to help as many people stay in their homes as possible.

“If a landlord for whatever reason decides not to participate then we will cut that check of arrears owed directly to the tenant,” Gausse said.

Since March, this program has helped more than five-thousand families.

The application for this round of emergency rental and utility assistance closes August 14.

It will reopen in September.

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