Eviction Deadline: Proposed plan to help renters

The end to the CDC evictions moratorium is looming for thousands in Pima County
Posted at 3:57 PM, Mar 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-15 21:17:01-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Pima County Supervisor Matt Heinz is proposing Tuesday allocating $2 million in federal COVID relief funds to help with free legal aid from a number of agencies.

Ron Stone is a veteran, who’s battling cancer.

His landlord took him to court to force him out, but his notice to appear arrived after the hearing.

RELATED: Eviction Snafu: Court notices arrive after hearing date

Supervisor Matt Heinz learned of others in the same boat and began pushing for free legal help.

“They helped us. They got our eviction taken care of and had our case thrown out," said Stone in a previous interview.

Now, Supervisor Heinz is proposing a motion that could help renters, like Stone, get a fair shake in court.

He says nearly 90% of tenants lose eviction cases.

"We know that over 4,000 families are literally evicted," he said, "Several hundred of which could be thrown out within 24 hours" when the CDC moratorium ends.

Those outstanding eviction orders are immediately enforceable on April 1.

"And that’s why I’m bringing this forward right now," said Heinz, "It’s going to take a little bit of time — several weeks — to process all those evictions for the folks that actually can be evicted starting April 1st."

He anticipates 7,000 to 8,000 families could benefit from this temporary measure while the county works to help both landlord and tenants with rental assistance, which the board is expected to approve on Tuesday.

"There are $31 million available right this moment to help pay down the overdue rent and utilities. There’s another 25 million coming in the coming days to weeks," he said.

And it’s not just tenants who can go after the funds to help wipe out overdue payments. "Property owners can also put in for these applications through the city or thought the county," Heinz explained.