Tucsonans residents express gratitude for eviction relief

Local families describe the harsh reality of almost losing their homes in the midst of a pandemic

Tucsonans residents express gratitude for eviction relief

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Today, the Pima County Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 to use up to $2 million of Cares Act Funding to help people facing eviction stay in their homes.

The county says most of the money will go to providing those facing eviction with legal representation.

“You don’t even go to sleep, you kind of just sit up thinking, ‘what do I do next,’ you know?” said Victor Preciado, a Tucson resident.

In March last year, Preciado was laid off from his job as a supervisor at a non-profit organization.

“That was the money there for our family,” said Preciado.

Without that income, he fell behind on rent and other bills. His fear was that the door would close and he and his family would be left on this side, without a roof over their heads.

“You dread waking up the next day knowing you may not be in the same space that you are, or that you feel comfortable in,” said Preciado.

17-year-old Debbie Martinez’ mom lost her job at a hotel, and they are scared of losing their home.

“We were close to that point,” said Martinez. “We’re almost to that point.”

Martinez says her mom works cleaning houses when she can.

Both Martinez and Preciado are thankful to the county for passing the $2 million in aid. They say, now there are a lot of other people struggling too.

“If those people end up losing their homes, they’re going to need someone to defend them,” said Martinez.

“It’s a step toward getting something done for the people,” said Preciado. “For everybody in Tucson, for the city to just feel at ease.”

According to Anthony Young, the executive director of Southern Arizona Legal Aid, right now less than 10 percent of renters have legal representation in court compared to 90 percent of landlords who do.

Young says from the time a tenant receives failure to pay notice, they can be forced out in less than a month. He does believe the money the county is now providing, will help people stay in their homes.

The county says they have looked into using University of Arizona law students to help represent tenants and they have already received 24 resumes from students interested in helping.

The federal eviction moratorium is set to expire at the end of this month.

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