Oklahoma City

With fears of eviction numbers swelling, prevention experts share insights – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 2021-09-21 19:59:41 –

Oklahoma City (Free press) — On Tuesday, city council members Jo Beth Hamon (6th ward), Niki Nice (7th ward), and James Cooper (2nd ward) will hold a panel discussion on the topic of eviction prevention for peasants with District 1 County Commissioner Carrie Blumert. I hosted it.

Elected officials welcomed three guests, local experts on housing crisis and eviction prevention.

Michael Figgins, Executive Secretary of Oklahoma’s Legal Assistance Services, spoke first. Figgins was followed by Dan Straughan, Executive Director of the Homeless Alliance. Ginny Bass Carl, Executive Director of Community CARES Partners (CCP), came in third to work on her organization’s efforts.

The attendees of the panel were mainly landlords and the press.

To start the meeting, Hamon pointed out that Oklahoma City had one of the highest eviction rates in the country before the COVID-19 pandemic. Subsequent experts have given more insight into that statistic and the current crisis facing many members of our community.

Legal aid

Michael Figgins, Executive Director of Legal Aid Services, described some of the most important steps and tools to prevent evictions.

He pointed out that most of the people experiencing peasant evictions are black and Hispanic. The majority are women and often single mothers. Many people facing evictions of peasants speak directly, as evidenced by the high utilization of payday loan services.

In August of this year, 1,064 peasant evictions were submitted in Oklahoma County. With the involvement of legal aid and community care partners and several other local agencies, 764 of these evictions have been thwarted.

Figgins said the rights of lawyers are crucial in preventing the eviction of peasants. An even better tool is pre-filing mediation between the tenant and the landlord. Landlords and tenants can save money and time if they can create accommodation before the landlord applies for eviction.

All $ 2 of the peasant eviction application fee will be sent to the program for pre-application mediation, but few people use or know its existence.

Figgins emphasized the need for collaboration between organizations. Litigation assistance can represent a person facing eviction of a peasant farmer, but without an organization that can support rental assistance and other services, that person cannot get out of a difficult situation.

Homeless

The homeless alliance Dan Strogan was asked to give insights into the homeless as a result of the current housing crisis.

According to Straughan, the city of Oklahoma has about 860 shelters, from large shelters like City Rescue Mission to smaller shelters like Sisu Youth and Pivot.

More than 1,500 people will experience homelessness in Oklahoma City tonight.

Straughan referred to the number of peasant evictions in Figgins in August. He suggested that those attending the panel should estimate that each household facing evictions averages three.

Now imagine he adds 3000 people to a system that is already 100% overcapacity.

Straughan says his agency and others working to accommodate people experiencing homelessness in Oklahoma City have become very well and efficient at work, but have become homeless. He said this influx of new clients has overwhelmed the systems being implemented.

“We need to block that influx,” Straughan said.

A few years ago, the Oklahoma Department of Housing Finance (OHFA) determined that Oklahoma City lacked at least 4,000 truly affordable homes. The deficit has only widened in recent years as wages remain stagnant while rents have risen sharply.

According to recent census information, nearly 15% of people in Oklahoma City live below the poverty line, according to Straughan. So our neighbors, 150,000, earn less than $ 10,000 a year alone and less than $ 26,200 a family of four.

Evacuation prevention can help mitigate the influx of people experiencing homelessness, but ending homelessness requires more truly affordable housing.

Community CARES Partner

Ginny Bass Carl, Executive Director of Community CARES Partners (CCP), talked about her organization’s management of the Federal Relief Fund.

The CCP operates in all 77 counties in Oklahoma, but has contracts with Oklahoma City, Oklahoma County, and Canadian County. So far, the organization has spent about $ 60 million to support rentals, utilities, and mortgages in Oklahoma.

CCP funding came first from the CARES Act, then from other Federal Leasing Assistance Funds, and soon from the American Reconstruction Planning Act (ARPA).

Karl said eviction prevention is only part of the solution in our community. CCP does not provide wraparound services, so working with organizations such as the Homeless Alliance will not only keep the people who provide the services alive, but will also receive the other services needed to prevent homelessness. ..

According to Karl, so far it has been difficult to get the landlord’s approval because of their program. Straughan said the program should have been sold as “landlord support” from the beginning. Because the landlord is financially perfect.

CCPs can often pay not only late payments, but also current and possibly future rents.

landlord

Many of the landlords who participated in the virtual forum had many questions.

A real estate owner asked if the tenant violated the rental agreement after receiving assistance, but can the tenant still be evacuated?

Assisted tenants are still at the mercy of their leases. Violations of the lease can result in evictions, but the CCP is not involved in the transaction. The CCP only assists if you are unable to pay your rent or utilities. If the CCP paid the rent in advance, the advance payment must be returned to the CCP.

The CCP pays the tenant directly only if the landlord refuses to participate in the program. This decision doesn’t make much sense. Again, this is landlord support, according to Straughan.

One landlord asked, “Why do they get legal aid and no one gives me any advice?”

One of the reasons is that the renter does not have the money because he gave the money to the landlord.

Another landlord suggested that rental and utility support, and SNAP benefits be tied to a vocational training program.

The landlord did not reveal what labor skills they would bring to passive income by owning a shelter to rent to someone who does not own her shelter.

At the end of the meeting, Figgins reminded everyone that more affordable housing is needed to mitigate the housing crisis.

“Cities and counties have land. We should build public housing for everyone.”

Last updated: September 21, 2021 18:59 Brett Dickerson – Editor

With fears of eviction numbers swelling, prevention experts share insights Source link With fears of eviction numbers swelling, prevention experts share insights

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