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Officials Promote Rental Assistance As Eviction Moratorium Ends, Hundreds Face Legal Action

Mayor G.T. Bynum spoke at the press conference, citing eviction as the number one cause of homelessness in Tulsa.

The CDC moratorium on evictions is ending Saturday, July 31st. At a press conference today, Eric Hallett, the coordinator of housing advocacy for Legal Aid Housing Services of Oklahoma, said next week is going to be a busy one in court.

“We have more than 60 cases on the docket Monday, more than 100 on Tuesday. Next week is going to be very hard on tenants in Tulsa. We probably have 300 families facing eviction next week,” said Hallett.

Those are mostly new filings, Hallett said. Soon the backlogged cases of people protected by the moratorium will be added to the docket, and landlords who haven’t filed for eviction yet are expected to when they learn the moratorium is lifted.

“Once that lifts and landlords see that evictions can go forward, more and more landlords will start filing those evictions again. Plus all those protected families will be ousted. They will start losing their homes,” said Hallett.

There is help available. Tulsa County Commissioner Ron Peters says the Emergency Rental Assistance Program, or ERAP, will be available for at least the next 13 months. 

“We’re here to make people aware that even though the moratorium expires on July 31st, it doesn’t mean these services that support both landlords and tenants are going away,” said Peters.

Even though money is available, Hallet said people behind on rent and utilities have hit roadblocks applying for assistance for a few reasons.

Some landlords refuse to take the money. Hallett says that’s because of miscommunications, or because they want the tenant out. Hallett also described a cycle of landlords filing for evictions to assess extra fees to tenants, but not actually going through with the evictions. 

More information on rental assistance is available at the city of Tulsa website.