Tulsa nonprofits have teamed up to keep potentially hundreds of families from being evicted.
With funding from the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation and the Tulsa Area COVID-19 Response Fund managed by the Tulsa Community Foundation and Tulsa Area United Way, Restore Hope Ministries will work with landlords and tenants on the Tulsa County court eviction docket to get them into mediation instead.
Restore Hope Executive Director Jeff Jaynes said there will be some terms both parties must agree to before past-due rent is paid.
"[Landlords agree] to not file evictions for the next three months. Of course, the tenant agrees to continue to abide by their lease agreement. And then, if they have a dispute, we want them to go back to mediation," Jaynes said.
There are more than 1,200 evictions pending in Tulsa County, including more than 900 filed since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"One of the most important parts of staying safe right now is being in your home, and so it becomes a public health emergency when people don’t have that option because they’re potentially being evicted," said City of Tulsa Housing Policy Director Becky Gligo.
Gligo said a long-term solution is needed, however, for a potential spike in evictions as the pandemic and accompanying economic downturn persist. Gligo said federal coronavirus relief funds could help cover an estimated $12 million a month in rent relief needed locally.