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Pandemic eviction disaster strengthens tenant safety San Francisco, New Hampshire, Baltimore, Texas

In a nearly empty conference room at the Virginia Center for Culture and Arts, Tara Simmons was looking for someone to help stop her eviction.

Simmons, a 44-year-old general practitioner who lives with two children and two grandchildren, was just a month late with the rent. But that didn’t stop her landlord from evicting her until Saturday, when the state eviction moratorium was over.

Simmons said he was already suffering from health problems and was concerned about going out.

“I’ve been home for four years and two months before my lease expired I received an email saying my lease will not be renewed,” said Simmons. Newport News Virginia. “It is. There is no explanation for any reason.”

“Since I got it, I’ve been trying to find a place to move. For financial reasons I still couldn’t find a way to move…. this pandemic is difficult. “

Simmons connected with a Legal Aid Association attorney in Eastern Virginia when state lawmakers made some comments and others ate a free lunch. They advised her that her landlord needed a court order to take her out. So far she was safe.

The Virginia event in late July is part of a growing national movement backed by tens of billions of dollars in government rent support that brings home millions of at-risk tenants. I’m finding a way to keep getting hurt by the coronavirus pandemic.

According to Princeton University’s Eviction Lab, the push could rebuild a system that had long been skewed in favor of the landowner, resulting in about 3.7 million farmers a year (about 7 per minute). An eviction has taken place. Many are black and Latino families.

Matthew Desmond, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning book on eviction and senior researcher at the Eviction Institute, said: White House Conference on the subject.

“This is an opportunity to reinvent the way we define and deal with eviction crises … more effectively for tenants and property owners than now, and clearly for households, families and communities. It has been realized how to invest without a stable port, everything else will collapse. “

Home attorneys have attacked the problem in two main directions.

In collaboration with some lawmakers and court officials, we have set up a program to resolve peasant eviction cases before they reach the court. Others have focused on state and local tenant protection laws, including sealing records of peasant evictions and hiring lawyers for tenants. An eviction notice can make it impossible to find a new apartment, but since most landlords come to court with an attorney, the legal counsel will make up the playing field.

Many ideas have been around for years. However, the extent of the pandemic clearance crisis, the historical level of available federal rental subsidies and the moratorium on the eviction of farmers changed the calculation. Local politicians, who rarely experience peasant evictions, have heard from insecure members and have longed for a solution. The landlord took an active part in the program as tenants moving out became an issue.

“At least the pandemic has urgently created some form of tenant protection here in Baltimore,” Carisa Hatfield, a homeless advocate, said last year of a bill that guaranteed Baltimore tenants. Pointed out that it passed. Lawyers and the state adopted similar measures this year. The city also temporarily banned rent increases and late payment surcharges during the pandemic.

“Politicians saw the same urgency as we do,” she said. “It gave us the opportunity to discuss with politicians the very real issues of peasant displacement and the very real impact of peasant displacement on families.”

Colorado Senator Julie Gonzales said the widespread threat of eviction of farmers has pushed lawmakers to pass multiple legislatures this year, including deadlines for late fees and limits on fees collected. Tenants can also withhold payments for issues such as power outages and mold and take them to court as a defense. Another law passed gives evacuated tenants 10 days instead of 48 hours to find a new home.

“We found that it was not just cities, but rural Colorado and mountain towns that were struggling with people who couldn’t afford rent,” said Gonzales.

According to the Urban Institute, 47 state and local programs across the country currently offer a combination of legal assistance, housing advice and mediation between landlords and tenants.

Some, like Texas, Michigan, and Massachusetts, offer programs nationwide, while others, including Chicago, offer programs. Philadelphia San Francisco and Pinellas County, Florida have started their own initiatives. Even states like New Hampshire and Montana, which normally have nothing to do with the eviction of farmers, have programs.

In Philadelphia, the city council passed a number of laws last year, including requiring landlords to participate in the city’s eviction conversion program if tenants are affected by a pandemic. Then, in April, the court ordered the landlord to participate in the program before filing a peasant eviction.

“This is a fundamentally important change in the way Philadelphia deals with peasant evictions,” said Rachel Garland, Philadelphia community housing attorney.

“Rent Assistance and Redirection is the landlord’s financial health and the landlord’s complete health and wellbeing in a way that solves the situation so that the landlord gets paid, the problem is resolved, and the tenant can stay in the house. I will give priority, ”she said.

“Even if it was created for a pandemic, we hope it will last longer than a pandemic and become a fixture in Philadelphia.”

This year’s pilot mediation program in two New Hampshire cities was fueled in part by concerns that courts could be flooded with evictions. Because of the success of the program, the court asked the state to raise US $ 750,000 to broaden mediation efforts across the state.

“If we can put the party together and settle the case or get them to this emergency fund, I’ll say it’s for mutual benefit,” he said. David King A senior New Hampshire Circuit Court judge dealing with landlord and tenant matters.

“It’s a win for the landlord and you get paid. It is a victory for the tenant and he stays. And we arbitrarily have to take care of one less case, that is, for the court. Is the victory. “

The right to legal assistance is also being expanded.

John Pollock, coordinator for the Baltimore Civil Defense Human Rights Union, said Washington, Connecticut and Maryland had enacted legal aid. Ten cities, including Seattle, have approved the measures. Cleveland and Louisville. Milwaukee County has secured funding to provide lawyers to low-income tenants.

So far the initiative has been successful.

According to the city, approximately 75% of the 1,788 renters participating in the Philadelphia program remain in custody. In New York, 86% of renters who had lawyers were able to stay at home. Cleveland, whose legal guard rose from 2% to 19% after the law went into effect last year, said all tenants seeking rental allowance had purchased it and 93% wanted to avoid evictions. ..

According to a survey by the University of Michigan, Southern Michigan and the Legal Department, 97% of renters stayed in containment because of last year’s Michigan program.

Among them is Regina Howard, a 53-year-old disabled veteran from Southfield. Last year she was evicted from a $ 1,600-a-month house that she shared with her husband and grandchildren. She turned to the state peasant eviction program, where she was hooked up to a free legal service. From there, Lake Shorey Gal Aid helped her raise $ 24,550 in federal funding to pay her 15-month rent.

“I was desperate that there was no help,” said Howard, “I feel better now. I can say that they really want to help. “


Casey reported from Boston.

Pandemic Clearance Crisis Strengthens Tenant Protection San Francisco, New Hampshire, Baltimore, Texas

Quellelink Pandemic Clearance Crisis Strengthens Tenant Protection San Francisco, New Hampshire, Baltimore, Texas

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