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Housing Advocates Turn To Local Judges After SCOTUS Ends Eviction Moratorium

Franklin County Eviction Court
Michael Lee
Franklin County Eviction Court

They say tenants need time to tap into billions of dollars in available federal funds.

Housing advocates are calling on local judges around Ohio to prevent evictions by giving tenants more time to file for rental assistance.

They say delaying eviction proceedings is crucial now that the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against a national eviction moratorium.

The Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio (COHHIO), says preventing evictions not only saves families from homelessness but helps stops the spread of COVID-19 by reducing the amount of people in homeless shelters or moving in with others.

Congress has approved two rounds of emergency rental assistance since December, totaling more than $46 billion. Along those funds, the state also has more federal money through the CARES Act to help people pay rent and utilities.

Marcus Roth, COHHIO's director of communications, says with tens of billions of dollars in federal rental assistance available; tenants, landlords, and the courts should all be able to find a way to keep people in their homes.

"Judges have the authority to delay evictions when fairness dictates especially when money is available to make landlords whole and to keep tenants from losing their homes during the pandemic," Roth says.

Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor wrote a letter to local judges to inform them of all the resources that are available for tenants looking to avoid eviction.

"COVID-19 has impacted the ability of many Ohioans to meet their rental obligations. As you may know, your local community action agencies (CAAs) have eviction assistance funds to pay for tenant back rent and utilities, and up to 10 percent can be used for housing stability, including eviction legal fees," O'Connor wrote in the letter.

The emergency rental assistance program can provide up to 12 months of rent for eligible households, with the possibility of three additional months.

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