Tenants face possibility of being homeless as end of eviction moratorium nears

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The eviction moratorium is quickly approaching and overdue tenants are currently in a 30-day period that is expected to end at the end of the month.

The city of Memphis and Shelby County have been working with several organizations to keep renters from living on the streets.

Using CARES Act funds, local officials announced the $2 million eviction settlement fund to help people keep their homes.

But it won’t help everyone.

“I believe that in September we will have way, way more evictions.”

Cindy Ettingoff with Memphis Area Legal Services said the goal was to not only keep the evictions from happening, but prevent it from appearing on someone’s record when applying for future housing.

“Of course, the problem is that we don’t have enough money to handle all the cases that are out there.”

Since the fund has been put in place, hundreds of people have applied.

Ettingoff said Memphis Area Legal Services has been working to negotiate settlements among landlords to give the tenant time to either look for a new home or stay in their current home.

But she says not every landlord has been cooperative.

According to the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce, more than 2,000 people in Shelby County have filed unemployment claims just since last week. Ettingoff said if the economy doesn’t take a turn soon, she fears far more people will be homeless in the months to come.

“Homelessness is the worst possible thing and it makes you question about we need some other reprieve from evictions. We just do,” she said.

You still have time to apply for the settlement fund if you are facing eviction due to COVID-19. For more information, click here.

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