Pima County working to help those facing eviction as Supreme Court blocks moratorium

KMSB News 9-10 p.m. recurring
Published: Aug. 27, 2021 at 8:42 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - The U.S. Supreme Court decided this week to block the Biden administration’s latest moratorium on residential evictions, putting countless more Pima County residents in jeopardy of losing the roof over their heads.

Constable Kristen Randall spent the day making dreaded phone calls, letting Pima County residents know they will no longer be protected under the eviction moratorium.

But for Randall, it’s personal and emotional.

“These aren’t just ‘I have a piece of paper and I make a call,’ this is a family that I helped fill out their rental assistance application. This is a family where I sat at their kitchen table and held their baby while helping them figure out how much rent they owe. So these are people that I know at this point. I’ve been part of their journey and now I have to make that call and let them know that their eviction is pretty much immediately enforceable,” says Randall.

And with the lack of affordable housing, rents going up, and having an eviction on their record, finding another place to live has become dire for many local families.

Now more than ever, non-profits like Community Investment Corporation are needed to help. Millions of dollars have been distributed to help, and millions more are there to be distributed.

“We’re able to provide up to 12 months of rental assistance for back rent and then three months of future rent and then, after all that, that’s all in one case, people can come back with a second request down the road if they still need assistance,” said Chief Strategy Officer Nick Henry.

But renters have to start the process of getting help, and there is a line.

The county has also started a new program called emergency eviction legal services to offer legal help to those who’ve already started the eviction process.

One tip from both Randall and Henry is, communicate.

“It is really important for tenants to be in touch with their landlord and let them know that they are making an effort to get assistance provided,” said Henry.

KOLD News 13 asked constable Randall how she deals with delivering such somber news to already struggling families.

“I’m going to be completely honest. I’m going to go home when I’m done after a day of talking to tenants and landlords and media,” she said. “I’m going to go into the shower and I’m going to cry because this is really, really personal for me.”

To apply for the Eviction Prevention Program, click HERE.

To get help from Emergency Eviction Legal Services, click HERE.

Copyright 2021 KOLD News 13. All rights reserved.