LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - The City of Louisville is facing a crisis within a pandemic.
Evictions are at a record high, putting more people on the streets during dangerous weather conditions.
“This is not the time of year to evict residents from their homes, students from their schools,” Louisville Urban League President Sadiqa Reynolds said. “We all need to understand the gravity of what evictions mean in this year, in this pandemic, with everything we have going on in our city and our country.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a Public Service Act to temporarily halt residential evictions, preventing further spread of COVID-19. It ends on March 31.
Thursday, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear announced the relaunch of Health at Home Eviction Relief Fund. It will give an additional $297 million to help keep Kentuckians in their homes for the duration of the coronavirus pandemic.
But even with government assistance, about 950 evictions have been filed in Louisville so far this year. Reynolds said she believes landlords are finding loopholes around it to evict tenants.
“There have been over 900 evictions filed this year,” Reynolds said. “The CDC has in fact had a moratorium but there are loopholes and shortcomings that fail to protect everyone. And that moratorium is going to end on March 31. We’re very concerned.”
The Louisville Urban League, Coalition for the Homeless, Metropolitan Housing Coalition and Association of Community Ministries came together Friday to send a warning to the city.
”Even before COVID, we had an eviction court that immediately evicts tenants who do not show up for their day in court but provides extensions regularly for landlords along with other provisions that they give landlords,” Coalition for the Homeless Executive Director Natalie Harris said. “During this pandemic, we are about to see the largest number of homeless people in this city that we have ever seen.”
The organizations are asking the Jefferson County Court to work with them before they rule on evictions. They said many tenants are struggling with virtual court hearings, and unaware of local resources.
They’re also calling on the City of Louisville to use some of the $22 million in rental assistance they received from the federal government.
”I am asking the courts, please listen to the people who have the resources,” Harris said. “Let them work with you to notify people what is available. Let them work with you to pay tenants and pay landlords before they are evicted.”