End of eviction moratorium creates concern about homelessness
TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - With the eviction moratorium expiring this weekend, there remains many unanswered questions as to how many people may lose their homes in Tucson and Pima County.
Just because the moratorium has expired, doesn’t mean all tenants who are behind on thier rent will be immediately evicted or that there will be mass homelessness.
There will be some evictions because the tenants don’t qualify for help or, in some cases, never applied for help under federal assistance programs.
Thousands of Tucson renters and landlords have applied for assistance but their requests are still being processed.
“The message right now is to be patient,” said Tyson Rosensteel, a director for database resources at Solari. “There can be long wait times.”
Solari is working with Tucson and Pima County to contact the landlords and tenants who are on the waiting list to insure them that the process is working but it takes time.
“People are relieved to hear a human voice on the phone and talk through the concerns they’ve got,” Rosensteel said.
They’re especially concerned about the money for the program but he assures them “the money will not run out.”
In can take up to 60 days from the time a claim is made until a check is in hand.
“We’re not always set up for speed with which this needs to happen,” said Danny Knee, the Executive Director of the Community Investment Corporation. “When you’re dealing with public funds, there’s obviously a lot of scrutiny around making sure the money is going to people who deserve it.”
CIC is working with Tucson and Pima County to vet the applicants, supply case workers and finally to get the money where it’s needed for both landlords and tenants.
Still, Knee believes that only about half the people in Pima County who are eligible have applied for help.
“We’re still receiving a hundred requests per day,” he said. “And that’s been going on for six weeks now.”
With that many calls a day he believes it means there are many people who are just now finding out about it.
“We’re working with the courts, we’re working with the constables to try to mitigate how many people wind up out of their homes, evicted,” Knee said. “Everybody understands that would be devastating.”
Constable Kristen Randall has spent the past week informing people of what’s coming with the expiration of the moratorium.
“I’m just knocking on doors talking to them about the eviction coming up,” she said. “What it means for them.”
Randall said the week has been very emotional for her and will get more so as the reality of the people losing their homes sets in.
The best she can do right now is give advice and information on what happens next.
“Just tell them try to find a place to go, try to find a place for your belongings, make sure you’re packed, make sure you have something planned for your pets,” she said.
Efforts to try to extend the moratorium in Congress have failed.
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