Housing advocates fear eviction crisis looming in NOLA

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NEW ORLEANS— Last week, while most of us were focused on Hurricane Laura, one of the protections of the Cares Act ran it’s course, thus putting hundreds, if not thousands of renters in our city at risk.

On Thursday, the First City Clerk of Court Austin Badon said, “Today is the first day that landlords can can come in and file evictions against tenants who are not covered by the federal cares act.”

In a majority-renter city like New Orleans, the effects are expected to be devastating.

Tenant Joseph Paul Mabry looks over his balcony in New Orleans (WGNO-TV)

Joseph Paul Mabry is a French Quarter deliveryman who’s work has been dramatically slowed and his family is feeling the effects.

“I’ve been in my place 5 years, and I just got an eviction notice, a 5-day eviction notice a week and a half ago. I’m trying to pull the money from somewhere. It’s disturbing,” said Mabry.

Evictions in New Orleans have always been an issue. We’re a city with a high poverty rate as well.

Breonne DeDecker of Jane Place Neighborhood Sustainability says, “Before the pandemic, we had an eviction rate that was double the nation average, so a little over 5% of renters was undergoing court ordered eviction each year, which is separate from illegal evictions where your landlord is just locking you out.”

That number is expected to skyrocket, according to the agencies that deal with people that lose their homes.

Davida Finger is and Associate Dean at the Loyola University School of Law and they’re asking for help from a number of sources.

Furniture placed on curb in New Orleans (WGNO-TV)

“The reality is is that regular people cannot pay their rent right now. We need policymakers to come together with creative solutions. We need property owners to be able to do what they need to do to keep their properties in shape. We also know that in the heat of storm season, and the middle of New Orleans summer we cannot throw people out on to the street at this time,” said Finger

As to what resources are available to folks that are evicted, DeDecker said, “The main thing is right now is the resources that are available on the table at the moment are not enough to cover everyone. We really need the federal government to step up.”

Just before airtime, Dean Finger notified WGNO-TV that the CDC was set to issue a moratorium on evictions in an effort to stop the spread of coronavirus.

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